LONDON, SHROUDS OF THE SOMME AND BEYOND THE DEEPENING SHADOW – 100 YEARS SINCE WW1

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One day in London, my mother and I went to two events to commemorate 100 years since the end of the First World War. The first was held at the London Olympic Park and was the Shrouds Of The Somme.

The ‘Shrouds of the Somme’ brings home the sheer scale of human sacrifice in the battle that came to epitomise the bloodshed of the 1914-18 war – the Battle of the Somme. All 72,396 shrouds, created by one man over five years, was laid out shoulder to shoulder for the first time covering over 4000 square metres in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Each is made to represent an individual British Commonwealth serviceman killed in the battle who has no known grave and whose name is engraved on the Thiepval Memorial in France. And it was staggering that this figures actually were boys and men who died in a senseless war. This is my own opinion, when will the world wake up and realise that wars do not solve anything.

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The 2nd was held at the Tower Of London. A new installation at the Tower of London, Beyond the Deepening Shadow: The Tower Remembers, the moat was filled with thousands of individual flames. A public act of remembrance for the lives of the fallen, honouring their sacrifice. This new artistic tribute run for eight nights, leading up to and including Armistice Day 2018.

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Beyond the Deepening Shadow was an evolving installation, which unfolded each evening over the course of four hours, between 17:00 and 21:00 each evening, with the Tower moat gradually illuminated by individual flames. The unfolding visual spectacle was accompanied by a specially commissioned sound installation; a sonic exploration of the shifting tide of political alliances, friendship, love and loss in war. At the centre of the sound installation lies a new choral work, with words from War Poet Mary Borden’s Sonnets to a Soldier. Beyond the Deepening Shadow will begin with a procession led by the Yeoman Warders of the Tower of London. Emerging from the fortress, the Yeoman Warders, themselves all distinguished former servicemen and women  ceremonially light the first flame. In a moving ritual, a select team of volunteers will then proceed to light the rest of the installation, gradually creating a circle of light, radiating from the Tower as a powerful symbol of remembrance. It was so beautiful walking around the moat taking in the sights.

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