Why ghostly silhouettes of soldiers are popping up across the U.K.
Published Tuesday, March 13, 2018 10:00PM EDT
This November will mark 100 years since the end of the Great War, a bloody series of battles that killed more than 19 million people and rerouted the course of history.
The sheer scale of those losses can be difficult to comprehend, but a campaign in the U.K. is attempting to capture the indelible imprint of war with art.
Life-size sculptures of British First World War soldiers, who were known popularly as “Tommies,” have been installed across the country as part of the “There But Not There” project. Rather than depict the soldiers as individuals, the sculptures offer a mere outline of their bodies.
Tommies have popped up in Northern Ireland, London, Wales and Edinburgh.
Smaller 10-inch statues are being sold throughout the project. The goal is to raise £15 million, or $27 million, for charities that help veterans.
Steve Hammond, an army veteran, says he hopes the project will help soldiers living on the street who are struggling with mental health.
“If we can help them, it’s a good cause,” Hammond told CTV News.
In the village of Penshurst, transparent outlines of 50 men have been erected in a church as a haunting reminder of the 50 men from the community who died at war.
The idea was to help the tiny community of less than 2,000 residents grasp its own death toll, said artist Martin Barraud.
“It was about getting them off into the pews, back where they used to be,” Barraud explained. “They used to live up the hill, they used to live around the corner -- it’s about bringing them back into the community.”
The sculptures will tour around the country until Remembrance Day, on Nov. 11, known in the U.K. as Armistice Day.
With a report from CTV’s London correspondent Daniele Hamamdjian