In June 2019 I did research in the Ypres Salient, Belgium.
The Friends of the In Flanders Fields Museum published this interview in VIFF Magazine no. 70, 2019-3:
“Last summer, artist and researcher Annelien van Kempen, hailing from Voorburg in the Netherlands, did research on the collection of the In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres, focusing on the decorated flour sacks of Herbert Hoovers Commission for Relief in Belgium with support of the Koen Koch Foundation.
The Koen Koch Foundation raises funds through membership fees and donations to the Friends of the In Flanders Fields Museum to support students and trainees with their studies on WWI in the Ypres Salient or on the IFFM Collection.
The sacks of flour from the USA and Canada were intended as food aid to occupied Belgium in World War I. Generally, you do not assign a backbone or feelings to a flour sack. The Belgian seamstresses, embroiderers, lace workers and painters who artfully worked on the sacks, however, testified to enthusiasm, creativity and ingenuity, as well as patriotism and deep gratitude towards the generous donors. The IFFM already houses a number of masterpieces, which further fueled Annelien van Kempen’s passion for her research subject.”
Interview and photos by Marc Dejonckheere.
My article ” Flour sacks. The art of charity” has been published in the 2020 Yearbook of the In Flanders Fields Museum, Ypres. In the article I describe my discoveries and put Ypres’ collection of flour sacks in their historical context. Please read my blog here.