Pity of War
Bronze sculpture by Peter Walker
In 2020 The Basilica was gifted a bronze sculpture by British artist Peter Walker, entitled Pity of War. This is a maquette for a much larger sculpture that is yet to be cast.
Pity of War is intended to honor the millions of nameless, voiceless and forgotten victims of war and human atrocities whose lives were upended against their will. The sculpture honors those bereaved by loss of loved ones, of their home or property; those who were forced to flee and now live in refugee camps or were forced to move to lands other than their own where they are more or less welcome; those who are suffering from post-traumatic distress and lifelong disabilities.
Pity of War depicts the head of a young child. Her eyes are strikingly bound and her mouth is shown shockingly silenced by abstraction and even by the removal of certain features such as her mouth and ears. Without words the image commands attention and draws the beholder into the narrative.
Pity of War was conceived to join the memorials for different causes scattered among some 25,000 trees in the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire in Great Britain. In Peter’s words, Pity of War is “not only about the past, but about the present and the future. It is both a commemoration and a challenge.”