Art’s reminder of war sacrifice
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