Unprecedented poignant commemoration
To mark the centenary of the end of the First World War, Shrouds of the Somme will deliver an extraordinarily powerful piece of commemorative art to reflect the enormous scale of the conflict, remembering those who gave their lives.
Artist Rob Heard is hand stitching shrouds for 72,396 figures representing servicemen of the British Empire killed at the Somme who have no known grave.
The figures will be laid out at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in November 2018 to mark the Centenary of Armistice Day The commemorative art will fill more than 5,000m2 and will be on show for 10 days, allowing the public to pay their respects and act as a rallying point for donations to military charities.
Authentic, heartfelt stories
To help raise awareness of the artwork, educate the next generation and build a legacy for those lost, Shrouds of the Somme appointed Zest The Agency to manage their PR activity.
The strategy has been to launch ‘Ask the Nation’, a campaign launched on BBC Breakfast appealing to members of the public to come forward with stories of their ancestors who perished at the battle but have no known grave. The authentic and heartfelt stories allow Heard to put real accounts to the names of the shrouds. They also form the basis of our content to drive awareness of the project’s purpose. A weekly ‘vlog’ charts Rob’s progress, allowing people to follow his work as it develops.
The Battle of the Somme is one of the darkest moments in British military history and the ‘Shrouds of the Somme’ will be a fitting and powerful tribute to the bravery and selflessness of the thousands killed and affected by the conflict. I’m proud that we are able to host this artwork and hope that many will be able to visit this extraordinary memorial to reflect on the horrors of war.
We’ve forged relationships with key stakeholders, including the Mayor of London’s office, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, West Ham FC and SSAFA, as well as key national media outlets. This has resulted in high quality national coverage including BBC Breakfast, BBC Radio London, BBC World Service, Sunday Telegraph, Navy News, Army & You, Western Morning News and RAF News.