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Royal Hospital School near Ipswich ties the red thread of fate in new East Asia-inspired art project for Remembrance Sunday





A school in Suffolk will commemorate Remembrance Sunday with one of its largest art projects to date, inspired by East Asia.

The Royal Hospital School in Holbrook, near Ipswich, lead a community art project to commemorate the fallen – looking to replicate the red threads of fate that tie people together that originated in Chinese mythology.

The project, known as ‘Bloodlines’, located in the school’s atrium, connects people from the area who served their country with people in the community.

The red threads of fate is supposed to symbolise links between people, and was first found in Chinese mythology. Picture: RHS
The red threads of fate is supposed to symbolise links between people, and was first found in Chinese mythology. Picture: RHS

The team took inspiration from Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota.

Unlike previous projects the school has done, this one involved the community.

Three local primary schools, Stutton, Holbrook and Oxford House Primary Schools, and three nearby care homes, St. Mary’s, Oak House and Spring Lodge, were involved.

Each person taking part provided details of themselves and a relative involved with the armed forces.

Details for each were placed on a separate label, which looked to emulate the luggage cases or gas mask labels of evacuees.

These were then connected by red thread, with the school hoping to create a web linking the community.

There are gaps to allow visitors to walk through and examine the exhibit.

The final touches of the project included an audio recording of an ex-pupil, who is the grandfather to an RHS teacher and great-grandfather to two pupils, talking about his experience as a student at the school and going away to war.

This audio was recorded by the Imperial War Museum.

Images of text from a teacher’s grandparent's memoir were also projected onto a wall.

Found an many East Asian mythologies, the red thread is commonly considered an invisible red chord that connects people destined to meet each other, and is supposed to symbolise happiness.

It is often featured in weddings.

The project will be available for viewing for ten days, starting from November 11.

Harriet Barber, RHS’ head of art said the team are proud to finish the installation.

“It has been amazing to see the whole school taking part in the project, particularly those pupils who have a personal connection to someone who has served or is serving.

“We hope that this will not only authenticate and contextualise remembrance for our community but also help to develop reflective and globally aware young people at RHS.”