It seems illustrating and painting a poppy for remembrance day is becoming a bit of a tradition for me. 2020 marks the third year in a row I’ve done this.

This years Poppy

History of Remembrance Day

You might be surprised to learn that the Poppy wasn’t used as a symbol for remembrance day until the summer of 1921.

It started with a rather influential woman named Madame Guerin.

She was an educator and fund raiser working with the government of France. She traveled to various allied countries attempting to unite them through what was then called the Inter-Allied Poppy Day. 

In 1921 she visited Canada and managed to convince The Great War Veterans Association of Canada, the predecessor to the Royal Canadian Legion, to adopt the poppy as a symbol of remembrance.

Canada was the first in the British Empire to do so. 

Our first Remembrance Day was November 11th 1931. It actually hasn’t been around as long as I thought it was. 

I don’t remember this ever being covered in school, and i’m a bit embarrassed to admit I hardly knew anything about it. 

The Symbolism of the Poppy and How it Changed

In the past a poppy represented deep sleep, eternal rest, or death. 

Likely because of the poppies opiate properties. At one time it was used in a medical capacity, and eventually it was used to create opium.

It is now more commonly considered a symbol of remembrance for the men and woman who lost their lives during the various wars throughout history.

My Plan for the Originals 

I actually have two Poppy paintings now. The one from last year, and this years. 

So I have decided to donate 25% of each paintings sale to The Canadian Mental Health Association British Columbia Devision

Covid hasn’t been easy, or kind to a lot of us. Mental health is still stigmatized and treated like a weakness. That needs to change. 

If you are able, please consider donating. Check in on your friends and loved ones. Wash your hands, wear your mask, and find time for a moment of silence today. It’s important. We need to look out for one another. 

Stay Creative

Justin Erickson


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