British artists Jamie Wardley and Andy Moss accompanied by hundreds of volunteers, on September 21, 2013, travelled to the beaches of Normandy and stenciled 9,000 silhouettes representing fallen people into the sand. The project named, 'The Fallen' is a tribute to those who lost their lives during D-Day landing on June 6, 1944, in World War II. The original team consisted of 60 volunteers, but as word spread nearly 500 additional local residents arrived to help. The shapes were then left to the mercy of the tide which washed away the stencils 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. 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.”
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. 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."