Art’s re­minder of war sac­ri­fice

Western Daily Press (Saturday) - - News - KEITH ROS­SITER news@west­erndai­ly­

ACENTURY af­ter the guns on the Western Front of the First World War fell silent, gi­ant “ghosts” of those who made the ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fice will awaken across the West.

Artist Leo Jamelli has cre­ated two­s­torey-high an­i­ma­tions to com­mem­o­rate the cen­te­nary of the Ar­mistice in Ply­mouth, Ex­eter and Bris­tol.

The Sleep­ing Soldier is a piece of pub­lic vis­ual art de­signed to cre­ate aware­ness of the sac­ri­fices made by ser­vice­men and women dur­ing the First World War.

Hand-drawn an­i­ma­tions of three ser­vice­men and one of a wait­ing widow, strug­gling to stay awake, will be pro­jected on to four his­tor­i­cal sites on Novem­ber 10, the eve of Re­mem­brance Day.

The four will “awaken” for one night. The soldiers will stand guard, sac­ri­fic­ing their sleep to keep watch over our sleep­ing cities, while search­ing for fallen com­rades and loved ones.

The in­stal­la­tions will be pro­jected through­out the night and they will slowly fade as the sun rises on the dawn of Re­mem­brance Day. Their watch will be over and they will pass once more into eter­nal sleep to join their fallen com­rades.

The Wait­ing Widow in­stal­la­tion in Ex­eter shows a young woman clutch­ing a let­ter from her fi­ancé who has been fight­ing in France. She anx­iously looks to­wards Cen­tral Sta­tion wait­ing for her man, who never re­turns. The in­stal­la­tion fo­cuses on the sac­ri­fices that women and fam­i­lies en­dured dur­ing the war, es­pe­cially those who lost loved ones.

A pro­jec­tion on the North Tower of Ex­eter Cathe­dral will de­pict a fallen soldier fac­ing east, wait­ing for the sun to rise. A sim­i­lar an­i­ma­tion will also be pro­jected at Bris­tol Cathe­dral.

In Ply­mouth, the an­i­ma­tion will fea­ture a naval soldier pro­jected on to the wall of the Royal Citadel, look­ing out over the sea search­ing for fallen com­rades who depths of the ocean.

The an­i­ma­tions, with their pen­cils­ketched im­agery, will have an ethe­real feel.

The way in which each frame is drawn and shaded makes the fi­nal

lie in the an­i­ma­tion flicker and jump, re­in­forc­ing the idea that th­ese fig­ures are in tran­si­tion be­tween two worlds and have only awo­ken for one night to find those they have lost.

The im­agery sug­gests the sac­ri­fice of the com­mon soldier, women and fam­i­lies. It uses the sac­ri­fice of sleep and the strug­gle to stay awake as a metaphor for the sac­ri­fices all ser­vice­men and women make dur­ing war.

The in­stal­la­tions show the move­ment of th­ese fig­ures as their breathe. This poses a ques­tion for the ob­server: are they sleep­ing just about to wake, or strug­gling to stay awake and about to slip into slum­ber.

“I am very ex­cited about the idea of hav­ing th­ese large in­stal­la­tions be­ing pro­jected at three cities across

It is im­por­tant that we never for­get the

con­se­quences of con­flicts of this scale


the South West and hope they en­cour­age some mo­ment of thought and re­flec­tion,” Mr Jamelli said.

“I have been lucky with the great sup­port I have re­ceived from Stage En­gage with the pro­jec­tion el­e­ments of the piece, as well as all the sup­port from those who have given me the venues and ac­cess to a power sup­ply.

“It is im­por­tant that we never for­get the con­se­quences of con­flicts of this scale and the loss and sac­ri­fice in­volved. When we do, we are more likely to re­peat them.

“Peo­ple of my gen­er­a­tion and younger born in this coun­try have been very for­tu­nate to live in times of peace, but I be­lieve we have to be re­minded that this is some­thing we should want to hold on to.”

The Wait­ing Widow in­stal­la­tion in Ex­eter

In­stal­la­tions in Ex­eter, above, and Ply­mouth

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