Visualizing the Real Cost of War

I think this is an incredible piece of conceptual art covered in the UK Daily Mail: artists stenciling nine thousand bodies onto Normandy beach to memorialize D-Day losses in 1944 to mark Peace Day. See also

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2429903/Peace-Day-Reminder-millions-lives-lost-war-artists-stencil-9-000-bodies-Normandy-beach.html

By  Aaron Sharp

A pair of British artists have created this  stunning installation of 9,000 silhouettes on a  D-Day Landings beach to mark international Peace Day.

The project, named, ‘The Fallen’ is a tribute  to the civilians, German forces and Allies who lost their lives during the  Operation Neptune landing on June 6, 1944.

The design was the brainchild of Jamie  Wardley, 33, and Andy Moss, 50.

Together with a team of volunteers the pair  travelled to Arromanches beach, Normandy, to create the silhouettes,  which were individually drawn into the sand.

 
Peace Day tribute on the Arromanches beach of NormandyMoving: The Peace Day tribute is a poignant reminder the  thousands who died during Operation Overlord

D-Day tributes on the Arromanches beach, NormandyConcept: According to artists Jamie Wardley, 33, and Andy Moss, 50, the idea behind the piece was to create a visual representation of loss on an unimaginable scale

 

Those taking part made the shape of a person  by putting down a stencil and raking the  surface to create a distinctive figure.

The shapes were then left to the mercy of the  tide which washed away the ‘fallen’ after around four and a half hours. 

Speaking of the idea behind the project  Wardley said: ‘The Fallen is a sobering reminder of what happens when peace is  not present.

‘The idea is to create a visual  representation of what is otherwise unimaginable, the thousands of human lives lost during  the hours of the tide during the Second  World War Normandy landings.

‘People understand that so many lives were  lost that day but it’s incredibly difficult to picture that number.

 

 

 
D-Day tribute created by artists on the Arromanches beach in NormandySand men: The team of artists and volunteers created  9,000 of the shadows which were eventually reclaimed by the sea

 

 
D-Day tribute on the Arromanches beach in normandyTeamwork: The project was originally made of 60 people,  but after locals learned about the tribute they quickly joined in

 

 
D-Day tribute on the Arromanches beach in normandyLending a hand: By the end of the day it is estimated  that 500 people had chipped in to create the stunning beach art

 

‘You could see the horrific casualty of war  when you stood on the cliff looking down  at the beach.

‘Watching the tide come in and wash the  bodies away was symbolic of all the lives  lost in all wars, not just during the Normandy Landings.’

Veterans and families, including some who  have lost loved ones in recent conflicts  have been involved in the project.

 

 

 

Wardley, who has been working with partner  since 2009, said: ‘We turned up to the  beach with a team of 60 people but by the end we had over 500 people  taking part.

‘There were people from all over the world  who had heard about the event and travelled all the way to France to take part. 

 

 

 
D-Day tributes on the Arromanches beach in NormandyUnity: Operation Neptune is remembered as one of the  great showings of wartime unity as the Allied forced launched their assault on  Nazi occupied France

 

 
D-Day tribute on the Arromanches beach, NormandyReclaimed: The installation was designed so that the sea  would wash over the bodies and wipe them from the beach in a moving reminder of  the tragedy of war

 

Artists Andy Moss, right and Jamie WardleyAchievement: Artists Andy Moss, right and Jamie Wardley,  left said they hoped their art would remind people of the value of  peace.

‘There were others who happened to be walking  by and wanted to get involved.

‘It showed that people from all over totally  understood the message behind it and I  found it very overwhelming.

‘Some people told us that they had lost  family in the Second World War and others  said they had lost loved ones in Afghanistan and wanted to pay a tribute  to them.

‘We finished all the stencils at about 7.30pm  and everyone gathered and waited for the  tide to come in.

‘The last silhouette was washed away at about  10pm and it was incredibly moving.”

 
The moment: Commando troops from a landing craft arrive on Normandy beaches on D-Day, June 6, 1944The moment: Commando troops from a landing craft arrive  on Normandy beaches on D-Day, June 6, 1944

 

 
Hiding in darkness: Royal Marines on D-Day Beach as they made their early morning landings on Utah BeachHiding in darkness: Royal Marines on D-Day Beach as they  made their early morning landings on Utah Beach

 

 
American assault troops move onto a beach in Normandy France, on D-Day during Operation Overlord 1944American assault troops move onto a beach in Normandy  France, on D-Day during Operation Overlord 1944

 

 
These Royal Marines are captured running for cover in silence before sunrise on the crucial dayThese Royal Marines are captured running for cover in  silence before sunrise on the crucial day
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About creativeconflictwisdom

I spent 32 years in a Fortune Five company working on conflict: organizational, labor relations and senior management. I have consulted in a dozen different business sectors and the US Military. I work with a local environmental non profit. I have written a book on the neuroscience of conflict, and its implications for conflict handling called Creative Conflict Wisdom (forthcoming).
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