Armistice 100 Days’, with Imperial War Museums and 26 Characters.

Drum Design Awards winner and D&AD nominated for Writing for Design.

100 stories told by 100 writers in memory of 100 people from the First World War.

Armistice 100 Years

 

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‘Armistice 100 Days’, with @imperialwarmuseums and @26characters_, told 100 stories from 100 writers in memory of 100 people from the First World War. My story was inspired by Duke Paoa Kahanamoku. You’ll know him as the ‘godfather of surfing’. You might not know that he got that name — sparking surfing as we know it — five months into the First World War. And there’s more. To start with, I thought Kahanamoku would give me a chance to compare surfing and war in visual terms: surfers and soldiers both with unmistakable uniforms and equipment, disappearing behind the veil to environments of calm punctuated by chaos, returning as changed men and women. But the research trail took a different tack. The first time Kahanamoku broke the 100-yard swimming freestyle world record, it was dismissed, first because the timing was deemed unofficial, then because the water currents were deemed unfair. When he started winning gold medals at the Olympics, racist headlines centred on his skin colour and heritage, building a ’Nimble Savage’ stereotype and dismissing anything like willpower and commitment to training. Nobody is a ’natural born’ Olympian swimmer any more than a ‘natural born’ soldier. The respect he was due was hamstrung by racism. But he pushed on and kept winning gold medals. It was the fight for freedom – not just in trench warfare and bombing raids, but against inequality in every corner of the world – that I wanted this story to stand for. Artwork: ‘His Beckoning Caw’ by @christinacrosbyartist Image: A portrait of swimming and surfing star Duke Kahanamoku, Hawaii, circa 1912. Author unknown. Public domain. #kahanamoku #dukekahanamoku #armistice100days #armistice #poem #worldwarone #firstworldwar #olympian #freestyleswimming #equality #racismistaught #poet #creativewriting @dukefoundation #poetry_addicts #equalityinsport #writersonig #writers_together

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