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Copyright Stephen Mulqueen 2010.
All rights reserved. Updated 2014


.303 Brass Cartridge Poppies with
NATO 5.56 Cartridge Belt © 2004


Poppies of War & Peace


In 2001, I travelled to war sites in France, Belgium and Germany visiting cemeteries, memorials and museums that hold the collective memories of both world wars.  I visited the Flanders Field Museum in Ypres and Tyne Cot Cemetery for the first time and found this very moving.  On return to New Zealand in 2002, the impact of this journey began to infiltrate my workshop practice.

For some years I had been collecting military .303 cartridges and examples of trench art from the two wars, fascinated by both their do-it-yourself craftsmanship and ironic content.

I began to explore a new kind of commemorative emblem using an existing element of 20th century European warfare – the brass gun cartridge and the Flanders poppy.

The resulting work is a hybrid of the fragile poppy flower with a discarded metal fragment, a residue of war where ‘beauty meets terror’.  The brass cartridge poppy resides in the tradition of mourning jewellery and spirit of the biblical text ‘turning swords into ploughshares’.  It carries its own poetic resonance and is a signifier both for death and new life.

-Brief Biography

Stephen Mulqueen is a New Zealand jeweller and sculptor. In 1983 he was a founding member of FLUXUS, a contemporary jewellery workshop & gallery in Dunedin, New Zealand.  His post graduate studies began in 1992 - 1993 at the Canberra School of Art, Australian National University, and were completed at the Otago School of Art Dunedin, where he gained a Master of Fine Art degree with distinction in 2000.  Stephen Mulqueen curriculum vitae

Stephen has exhibited widely in New Zealand and Australia, and has had work commissioned by, and held in, corporate, public and private collections.




World War 1 Centenary
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