CWGC uncovers unique and touching piece of art trophy for Gent-Wevelgem in Falnders' fields 2022
On 16 March 2022 the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) and Flanders Classics unveil the symbolic winner's trophy for Gent-Wevelgem In Flanders Fields 2022. Yves Delplace, artist and CWGC artisan, designed and produced the trophy that will find its final home with the future winners of the cycling classic on 27 March 2022. The CWGC opens the doors of its workshop in Ypres and demonstrates the 'making of' the Australian Soldier Commemorative Trophy.
Besides the official competition trophy, each winner of the 7 races in Flanders Fields also receives a symbolic trophy. This symbolic trophy is based on the theme of the competition, which this year is Australia. The stories of the Australian soldiers are the focal point of this year's competition. Thanks to this unique trophy, the winners of Gent-Wevelgem get a unique memento of their victory in Flanders Fields.
The Australian Soldier Commemorative Trophy was made in the centre of the former battlefields by Yves Delplace. Artist Yves, works as a specialist craftsman at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission with office for Central and Southern Europe in Ypres. In keeping with the theme of 'Australia', he created a unique and moving artwork of an Australian soldier becoming one with the 5th Australian Division Memorial at CWGC Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood.
Yves Deplace, artist and CWGC craftsman says: "The theme "WWI, Australia, Westhoek" obviously suits me. I followed the suggestion of our director, Mr Bekaert, to use the obelisk of the 5th Australian Division Memorial at CWGC Buttes New British Cemetery in my design. After the necessary research, to be historically correct, I arrived at a purified silhouette of an Australian soldier. He stands somewhat stooped and mourns for all the victims, but also salutes "Flanders Fields".
The sparsely applied details refer to the characteristics of the uniform of the Australian soldiers (such as the typical hat). I styled the form of this soldier so that the figure merges into the form of the monument. In this way, the soldier also becomes a monument. "
Geert Bekaert, director of the CWGC in Central and Southern Europe continues: "The CWGC is delighted to have been able to design and manufacture this trophy. Gent-Wevelgem starts symbolically at the Menin Gate, where the names of nearly 55,000 Commonwealth war dead from World War I are chiselled into the walls. The fact that all the riders stop at this location, and that the winners receive this trophy afterwards, is a unique way of paying extra homage to the many fallen. I would therefore like to thank both the organisers of Gent-Wevelgem and the city of Ypres for their continued involvement."
Tomas Van Den Spiegel, CEO Flanders Classics concludes: "Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields is a race that brings world history into the living rooms next to sporting history. The narrative aspect that Flanders Fields adds to this spring classic is unequalled in the international cycling world. The Great War and cycling go hand in hand for a unique cycling story."