Seventy years ago today, Operation Neptune now known as the Normandy landings began, and nine thousand soldiers and civilians died.
To remember the fallen, sand sculpture artists Jamie Wardley and Andy Moss etched 9000 silhouettes on to the beach in Normandy in a project called The Fallen 9000. They had asked for volunteers to help them, and were overwhelmed when hundreds of people showed up.
On the day we had 60-70 confirmed volunteers that had travelled from around the world to help. We knew that this was not enough to complete the project in the 4.5 hours that we had so at 3pm when we were about to begin we were overwhelmed by the hundreds of people that turned up to help. Myself and Andy then began to explain the task ahead and together did a demonstration on how to make a stencil in the sand. However, when we lifted the stencil I realized that we had just made together the first of the Fallen, a representation of a person that once lived, they had parents, family friends. This person had died prematurely due to a conflict and we were marking his passing. When I make a sculpture or a drawing in my imagination that person is for a moment very much there, I will often find myself talking to them to see what they are thinking and how they are feeling, there becomes a connection between me and them. The person that we had drawn was very present indeed, we had made a connection and I was for a moment overwhelmed and Andy Moss had to continue.