I have been to several art installations which reflect on the Covid19 pandemic. I have covered “In Memoriam” Luke Jerram’s flag creation that visited Aston Hall. The flags were blue and white and made from hospital bed sheets. They were stunningly arranged in a medical symbol. “This is Gratitude” is an Art installation of 51 sculptures championed by Dame Zandra Rhodes. The figures visited Chamberlain square in central Birmingham and were painted by several artists. These two installations were colourful, moving and told stories about different aspects of the Pandemic.
Would I go and visit a third installation by the “Standing with Giants” organisation? This post tells the story of my visit to the installation. I nearly missed it and only picked up on the tour via a photographer I follow on social media. The beautiful grounds of Coombe Abbey were the setting for the visit. Standing with Giants consists of 300 figures cut out of industrial recyclable materials. On one side, there are colourful paintings of key NHS workers. When you first encounter the figures, you are struck by how many of them there are. Already there are emotional touches to the installation as bouquets of flowers have been left at the feet of some of the figures.
Chloë, my grand daughter, started playing hide and seek amongst the figures and I followed her deep into the art display. As I turned around, there was a surprised waiting for me. The backs of all the figures were black and there were messages written in white. The sight of all the black figures wearing white face masks is extraordinary. It was different to the colourful front facing view. The messages were a mixture of thanks, hope and remembrance. The were both moving and a joy to read. Clive, one of the volunteers, came over to us and handed us one of the white writing pens. Sandy is an ex nurse and she penned a message on back of one of the figures. We spent a good 15 to 20 minutes taking in the messages and the sights. It was a different approach and I am fortunate to have seen three different installations that make you think, challenge and also help in reflection about many of the individual tragedies that happened during the pandemic.
Finally…..We just want to say thank you to Clive who was one of the volunteers on the day we visited ‘Standing with Giants’. Clive explained what to do with writing the messages and showed us where the white marker pens were kept. A friendly face to the installation. Thank you.