This piece is dedicated to the pilots, both male and female, who played their part in the World War II.
The bomber war was fought largely by young, civilian volunteers from Britain and the Commonwealth, commanded by men who joined up before the Second World War. The vast majority of aircrew were in their late teens or early twenties. Only 25% were officers. An increasing flow of Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders meant that one in four aircrew came from the Dominions. The average age of a fighter pilot during the war was 22 with a life expectancy of just 2-4 weeks and 51% of aircrew were killed on operations. (information from www.iwm.org.uk)
This is also a story about the many unsung female pilots who joined the Air Transport Auxiliary (UK) and Women Airforce Service Pilots - WASP's (USA) flying hazardous missions delivering Spitfires and Bombers to the front line throughout the war. From 1943 to 1944, over 1,000 women flew over 60 million miles ferrying aircraft and personnel, towing targets, and other transport duties. (information from www.airandspace.si.edu)
Parachute’ was inspired by all these people and created as something that symbolised them and their sacrifice. The piece is suspended in an acrylic box over a mirror plate. It’s heart is a re-structured copy of Sarah Walters book The Night Watch - a story set in 1940’S blitz bombed London. Using Japanese origami (folding) and kirigami (cutting) techniques to manipulate the structure and re-shape the book it became a symbolic parachute, a vessel hanging in the sky populated with images of fliers, some visible and some commemorated in the black and red crosses. Churchill rises above them all waving his famous Victory sign.