Portraits of soldiers who died in World War One were etched into the sands of 32 UK beaches last 11 November and the result was stunning. The portraits were titled “Pages of the Sea,” an idea that was conceived by Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle.
The beaches from Cornwall to the Shetland Isles commemorated specific individuals that fought in the war. Some are of well-know figures like the war poet, Wilfred Owen, others are of lesser-known local individuals who perished in the war. People gathered together early on Sunday morning to create the images, using a stencil and a rake to create the images.
“In the first World War, everybody left from the beaches and the harbors because there was no plane transport of any significance then,” Boyle told the BBC. “So this will have been their last sight of home—and for many of them, of course, it was their last sight of home.”
He continued, “I thought, ‘What a wonderful way to reconnect with them.'”
Boyle said the images were made by volunteers who were given stencils and rakes to shape the larger-than-life portraits.
“We make a temporary portrait which is a reminder of your own and their mortality,” he said. “But it’s also a way that a community can gather in a public space…and we can come here and celebrate, in a way.”
Boyle said standing in the midst of the portraits also gave room for quiet reflection. At each of the beaches to mood turned somber as the afternoon tides arrived.
“There was a wonderful silence with just the noise of the tide beginning to pour in and cover the portraits,” he said. “It was very, very moving.”
People who experienced the exhibit in person posted photos to Instagram and shared their thoughts, many of them paying tribute to certain soldiers by sharing their names and bits of their stories.
List of all individuals commemorated can be found HERE.
Compiled from UK News Reports