Rugby Borough Council

04/16/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 04/16/2019 07:34

The role of women in war inspires new exhibition at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum

Commissioned by Grain Projects and exhibited at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum from 7 May to 22 June, When the Golden Sun is Sinking focuses on the objects and materials of conflict, from Government propaganda posters to the trench art created by soldiers in the First World War.

Women have long played a pivotal role in war efforts and Serpytyte has delved into the archives of the Imperial War Museum and museum collections across the Midlands for her latest project.

The artist contrasts the Government propaganda produced to promote the work of the 'munitionettes' who worked in factories manufacturing arms for soldiers on the frontline in the First World War, with first-hand accounts of the women who worked long shifts in punishing conditions.

Vases made from spent ammunition shells lead Serpytyte to explore a range of themes. The shells, many of which were manufactured by women, were engraved by Tommies in the trenches before being sent home to loved ones as decorative ornaments.

The exhibition features a number of trench art vases, together with photographs of vases taken by Serpytyte, who works with photography, sculpture and installation to explore the impact of conflict and war on history and perception.

Her work has been exhibited at the Tate Modern and collected by the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Nikki Grange, Rugby Art Gallery and Museum's arts, heritage and visitor services manager, said: 'We're delighted to work with Grain Projects to host this new exhibition by Indre Serpytyte.

'During the Second World War, Rugby was home to its own 'munitionettes', working at the British Thomson-Houston factory, so the themes explored in When the Golden Sun is Sinking have a real connection with the town's social history.'

Grain Projects, supported by Arts Council England and Birmingham City University, works with artists, photographers and curators to produce and commission artworks and photography projects.

When the Golden Sun is Sinking runs at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum from 7 May to 22 June.

For more information about exhibitions and events at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum, visit

Photo caption: Trench art created during the First World War features in a new exhibition at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum. (Credit: © 'When the Golden Sun is Sinking (2019.04)' Indre Serpytyte)