Kingsley
Baird

Serve: a new recipe for sacrifice

Serve: a new recipe for sacrifice

National Army Museum

Te Mata Toa

Waiouru

New Zealand

2010-11

The two works, Picnic and Serve, explore and conflate secular and spiritual themes including military sacrifice and remembrance rituals in the context of national (Anzac) mythology and identity, and individual and collective remembrance and redemption. 

Picnic comprises 13 bronze ‘Brodie’ helmets and a 6-metre-long, wooden trestle table. The upturned World War One helmets are lined with a residue of dried iron oxide that could refer to the land for which the act of sacrifice is made. 

Serve is composed of 13 sets of World War One-style mess tin kits. In each kit – or portable icon – is a ‘cookie’ cutter in the shape of either a ‘complete’ or maimed soldier. Inscribed onto the mess tin lids’ surface is an Anzac biscuit recipe and measuring level. Eating the soldier biscuits ‘re-enacts’ the Eucharist, a metaphor intended to remind us of our responsibility for the lives of those charged to defend our interests in conflict.

Top photo: Guy Robinson

Serve: a new recipe for sacrifice - _Picnic_.  Photo: Guy Robinson

Picnic.  Photo: Guy Robinson

Serve: a new recipe for sacrifice - _Picnic_. Photo: Guy Robinson

Picnic. Photo: Guy Robinson

Serve: a new recipe for sacrifice - _Picnic_ (detail: mess tin and cookie cutter). Photo: Guy Robinson

Picnic (detail: mess tin and cookie cutter). Photo: Guy Robinson

Serve: a new recipe for sacrifice - _Picnic_ (detail: gold leaf mess tin and soldier biscuits). Photo: Guy Robinson

Picnic (detail: gold leaf mess tin and soldier biscuits). Photo: Guy Robinson

Serve: a new recipe for sacrifice - _Picnic_ (detail). Photo: Guy Robinson

Picnic (detail). Photo: Guy Robinson