Hebden Bridge group involved with Danny Boyle war anniversary project scoops top award

Pages of the Sea artwork (Pictures by JPI Media and SWNS)
Pages of the Sea artwork (Pictures by JPI Media and SWNS)

A team of Hebden Bridge artists who created sand portraits to mark the Armistice centenary have seen their work rewarded as the project scooped a top award.

‘Pages of the Sea’ won the Visual Art Award at the South Bank Sky Arts Awards.

Jamie Wardley, artistic director of Sand In Your Eye studio and his team certainly had their work cut out as they undertook a hugely ambitious logistics operation that saw communities up and down the country gather on beaches to remember the eight million people from Britain and the Commonwealth who served in the First World War.

The project was is the culmination of a five-year programme of arts commissions, part of 14-18 NOW, marking the war’s anniversary.

For this, Wardley and a team of artists created 28 giant portraits of servicemen and women. The portraits, selected by the Imperial War Museum, measure 30 metres and will be drawn into the sand at low tide tomorrow at different locations before they are washed away.

In addition to this, members of the public were invited to create their own portraits alongside those done by the art teams, using stencils created by Sand In Your Eye.

These took place at more than 30 locations and the team were busy in their West Yorkshire studio creating the stencil shapes which depict three soldiers, a munitions lady and a nurse.

In total, they created 800 stencils that were packed off to the various coastal locations.

Sand In Your Eye has previously worked on a project at Arromanches beach in Normandy where they created 9,000 drawings of those who died there during the D-Day landings.

It was this project, which they did off their own back, that prompted the Imperial War Museum to get in touch.

The film maker Danny Boyle, who created the extraordinary opening spectacle for the London Olympics six years ago, co-ordinated the new Armistice project which also involves a poem specially written by Carol Ann Duffy being handed out and read at the beaches.

Normally Jamie is one of three full-time members of the team but for this project he supplemented their ranks with freelancers who came in to help.

They had to train around 40 people who, in turn, have trained their teams.

Now in its 23rd year, The South Bank Sky Arts Awards the Awards took place on Sunday July 7 at the Savoy Hotel.

Hosted by Melvyn Bragg, The South Bank Sky Arts Awards is the only Awards ceremony in the world to celebrate every genre of the Arts, including Dance, Theatre, Pop, TV Drama, Film, Classical Music, Literature, Opera, Comedy and Visual Art.

Previous winners at the Awards demonstrate the strength and depth of British talent across the full spectrum of the Arts, and include Stormzy, Tom Hiddleston, Ian McEwan, Sam Mendes, Amy Winehouse, Steve Coogan, Akram Khan, Steve McQueen, Alan Bennett and Kate Bush.