In order to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War, an artist intends to stitch 72,396 shrouded figures to represent each of the British servicemen killed at the Battle of the Somme, whose bodies were never recovered.
Planned for London in November 2018, the quarter of a kilometre display of shrouds looks set to rival the Memorial Poppies display at The Tower in impact and recognition of those who have given their lives in the name of their country.
Rob Heard’s aim in creating this installation is to give a better understanding of the scale of the losses, to individually honour each man who gave his life and in a small way “bring the boys home.”
During the creation process, the artist will refer to a list of names of the British servicemen (and 829 South African infantrymen) listed on the Thiepval Memorial in France, with data sourced from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Each figure created will be associated with a name so that each soldier individually acknowledged and remembered.
Mr Heard has already created 19,240 shrouds which were exhibited in Bristol and Exeter in 2016. The public impact was enormous with over 145,000 people visiting the display.
Now the artist needs to make around 60,000 more shrouds to complete the project. This involves hand-stitching 15 hours a day for another 18 months to make sure the shrouds to go on display in time to mark the Centenary of Armistice Day.
The Battle of the Somme was one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War, over a million men were killed or seriously wounded.
The project is seeking crowdfunding at the moment because it needs to raise a total of £150k. This pays for basic materials, some money for the artist’s time and some project costs.
Once the project is funded and the exhibition takes place the project will then raise money for SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity which has supported servicemen, veterans and their families in times of need for over 100 years.
To lend your support visit: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/622425218/shrouds-of-the-somme?ref=card