My favorite flower has been the poppy for a long time. Ever since I saw Georgia O'Keeffe's poppy painting, I was hooked. Interestingly enough, I learned that Georgia O'Keeffe loved to paint flowers so that people would stop and appreciate them. Her painting did that exact thing to me and made me fall in love with it! The red poppy is beautiful and I love when I find items of clothing with the red poppy on it. In my art history classes, we would talk about the symbolism of flowers and I started to wonder what my favorite flower symbolized.
|Oriental Poppies, 1928, by Georgia O'Keeffe|
"For Chinese people, the poppy carries a strong historical symbolism of the 19th Century Opium Wars, waged by the British in retaliation for Chinese resistance to trade. The wars devastated China. There were over 20,000 deaths and injuries, and the conflict led to the "Century of Humiliation," in which China became subject to Western imperialism."The choice in wearing poppies was upsetting for some because the theme of the Gala was about China and showed a lack of understanding towards Chinese history. Also, the name of Georgia O'Keeffe's painting Oriental Poppies, shows that the West continued to associated poppies with Asian cultures.
Lastly, poppies are now known in Western culture as a symbol of remembrance. During WWI, became a symbol of remembrance after the flower survived the wreckage of war and inspired a Canadian soldier, John McCrae, to write a poem called 'In Flanders Field'
After this poem was spread around, it inspired two women, Moina Michae and Anna Guerin, to produce silk poppies pins for a movement of wearing poppies in remembrance of those who died. The British Legion ordered and sold 9 million of the poppies and raised 100K to help veterans with employment and housing. They still produce poppy pins for the cause today. Also, after the war the even made poppy pins out of the metal from artillery shells on the battlefields! Pretty crazy!"In Flanders' fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the skyThe larks, still bravely singing, flyScarce heard amid the guns below.We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,Loved and were loved, and now we lieIn Flanders' fields.To you from failing hands we throwThe torch; be yours to hold it high,If ye break faith with us who dieWe shall not sleep, though poppies growIn Flanders' Fields.
We are the dead. Short days agoTake up our quarrel with the foe;"
|Moina Michael with poppies she planted.|