Things are really beginning to ramp up a gear. In just 10 days we launch our crowdfunding campaign to take Shrouds of the Somme to London, and we will need your help! The campaign will mean that everyone, across the country can be a part of helping to make this extraordinary and awe-inspiring exhibition happen.
Artist Rob Heard will stitch 72,396 shrouded figures to represent each of the British* servicemen killed at the Battle of the Somme whose bodies were never recovered. If we are successful in raising the money needed, these shrouded figures will be displayed in London in November 2018 for the Centenary of Armistice Day. The exhibition will be a quarter of a kilometre long and will be one of the largest arts memorial projects ever seen. Every 12 inch figure is bound by Rob into a hand-stitched calico shroud and made to a name identified by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
The crowdfund appeal is to raise £150,000. This money pays for the cost of materials needed to stitch the figures, and means that plans can begin to be put in place for staging the exhibition in London. Rob will spend a total of 15,000 hours to achieve this staggering feat. He must work for 15 hours every day to get the memorial done in time for the centenary of Armistice Day.
The Battle of the Somme was the largest and most devastating battle of the First World War; over a million men were killed or seriously wounded. A hundred years later it is almost impossible to comprehend the magnitude of the numbers, but by honouring these soldiers in this way we can start to understand the scale of loss to families and communities across the world.
You may remember in 2016 Rob exhibited 19,240 figures in Exeter and Bristol, representing every man who died on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. The installation was breath-taking and extremely moving to everyone who saw it. We had 145,000 visitors over the two weeks it was on display in Exeter and Bristol. Amazingly we had over 13 million views of one film clip on Facebook!
Often asked where the idea came from Rob says:
“The idea for stitching 70,000 shrouds came when a man I met at the Exeter exhibition said to me that his great uncle was killed on the first day of the Somme but his body was never recovered. He said ‘this feels like he is back on British soil for the first time in 100 years.’ That got me thinking that if anybody should come home, all those whose bodies were never recovered should come home.”
What we will need is your support, and help spreading the word. The campaign launches on Wednesday 10th May. If you would like to get involved sign up now click here, and we will let you know as soon as the campaign launches and keep you in touch with all stages of the project.
As well as helping with the crowdfunding campaign click here to sign up, there are all sorts of other ways you can help too. Here are a few ideas:
- Invite all your Facebook friends to like the Shrouds of the Somme page
- Sign up to be a Shrouds of the Somme crowdfunding volunteer. To sign up email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Make a selfie video of why you think Shrouds of the Somme is important and amazing and post it to the Facebook page
- Send us your photos of the 2016 exhibitions in Exeter and Bristol and tell us why it moved you (again post to FB)
- Send Rob words of support by commenting below, via Facebook or email us. (It means a lot!)
- Tell us any ideas you have of who we should be contacting and getting in touch with – all thoughts extremely welcome.
If you haven’t already done so, have a look on the website to find out more and do get in touch we’d love to hear from you! click here
* This also includes 829 South African infantrymen