John Ennis Head of School of Humanities at Waterford Institute of Technology Waterford, Ireland
"The last Child", Installation in the City of Waterford by Gottfried Helnwein
“All a poet can do today is warn”, World War 1 soldier poet, Wilfred Owen, wrote in a draft Preface for a book of anti-war poems he would never see published. He was killed on the eve of Armistice Day 1918. World War One, The Great War, The War to End All Wars . . . within twenty summers, Europe was engulfed again in the even greater catastrophies of the fascist era. The work of Gottfried Helnwein has its genesis in these years. They obsess him as a creative artist. As a kind of guardian angel, he grapples with them on our behalf. That such a nightmare would never visit us again. Or our children. Or our children’s children. Or “. . .all those still to come”.