- June 6, 2020
As Flagler Beach artist Patricia BeBeau spent five months researching World War I for a commissioned art piece, she learned more than just battle trivia; she read personal diaries that documented life on the war-torn ground and even found out things she didn’t know about her family’s history.
One World Foundation Inc., commissioned a piece about WWI from her in 2001. BeBeau created a 4-by-5-foot multimedia collage in 2002 that spotlights what happened before the ending of WWI on Nov. 11, 1918.
“I devised a way to do a 3-dimensional (piece) that gave an overview of actually what had happened in the four years,” BeBeau said. “The view is, if you were looking straight on, you see the landscape. If you are looking down, you see the devastation that they created — like the moon, that’s really how bad it was. If you’re looking up, you see the dog fight. Then, I put in our part, as the Americans who came in.”
“This is really a triumph for me because I’ve been doing art all my life. ... For me, it’s an achievement that I’m very proud of that I’d like people to see.”
- PATRICIA BEBEAU, Flagler Beach artist
To honor the 100-year anniversary of the end of WWI, the piece, titled “the Collapse of the Frontier Attrition: Nov. 10, 1918,” will soon be on display at the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Daytona Beach. The exhibit will show from Nov. 10 to Jan. 2, at the museum located at 352 S. Nova Road, Daytona Beach.
She said her work details the destruction of the battle on the ground, while accentuating the “dog fights” of pilots on both the Allied and German sides of the war in the air.
BeBeau used her inventive personality in the piece, as it features objects like a war helmet made from a walnut, barbed wire crafted from produce bags, ghostly faces painted on with hand-crafted prints and a lace collar made by her Austro-Hungarian grandmother, which represents the Victorian era that was pre-war.
“This is really a triumph for me because I’ve been doing art all my life,” she said. “For me, it’s an achievement that I’m very proud of that I’d like people to see.”
Among the factoids about WWI, BeBeau also learned more about her family. Her father, who was born in 1917 during WWI, came to Ellis Island in 1921 and settled with his family in Flushing, New York. He went into U.S. Army as young man and was a member of the Merchant Marine in WWII, she said.
“It was one of the things my father never mentioned,” she said. “I learned a lot of things about my family and my father’s family in the research.”
BeBeau’s piece previously hung in the Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Jacksonville for 14 years. If you’re interested in giving the artwork a home after its time at MOAS, email Patricia BeBeau at [email protected]. net, with the email subject “Attrition.” She runs her home art space, Lady by the Sea Studio, in Flagler Beach.