Inside the military museum, New Zealand artist Kingsley Baird is battling to meet a self-imposed deadline which falls this Saturday. By then he plans to have completed Stela – the name of his highly original memorial to the millions of men who lost their lives during the Great War. Stela is a vast collection of 18,000 hand-sized WWI soldiers made entirely from “Anzac biscuit”.
The cornmeal, oat flake and grated coconut soldiers have all been baked in Dresden according to a 100-year -old Australia and New Zealand Army Corps recipe. By Saturday the biscuit soldiers, some who have arms and legs missing, will have been carefully stacked in layers on to a specially constructed six -storey steel cenotaph in the museum. Visitors will then be encouraged to consume a French, German, British, American or Anzac biscuit soldier and as Kingsley Baird puts it: “internalise remembrance.”
The artist’s grandfather was one of thousands of Anzacs who fought in the Great War. “My aim is to show that all the soldiers are united in death,” he told the Süddeutsche Zeitung.
Stela is not to the taste of all visitors. A group of naval cadets told the artist that they found the idea of consuming a biscuit soldier “indecent”.