An outdoor art installation and tribute to NHS workers has been unveiled at South Park in Oxford.
The installation was created by the organisation Standing with Giants in conjunction with local artist Dan Barton.
It features approximately 300 life-size figures representing NHS workers as a tribute to the staff members who have tirelessly worked through the coronavirus pandemic and to those who have lost their lives in the process.
There are 60 different design configurations, which have all been hand cut by one of our volunteers from recycled building waste. And all the figures have all been hand-painted by a team of local volunteers during their spare time over the past 3 months.
All of the figures began as original photographs of NHS staff, which have been adjusted and manipulated to create the final characters that you will see.
The figures will remain in South Park until Sunday 01 August to provide the public with the opportunity to use the space to reflect on their experiences of the pandemic so far.
The site also features a tribute tent created to give the public a chance to record a message for a family member, friend or co-worker.
Standing with Giants is a not-for-profit organisation whose aim is to honour those who have given their lives to protect the freedoms of the public or for the benefit of others.
Previously, the organisation has assembled 200 life-size soldier silhouettes at Blenheim Palace to mark Remembrance Sunday and to honour those who have died in the line of duty.
In a statement on their website, the organisation said, “The NHS staff, without doubt, have gone way beyond expectation in their dedication and determination to fight on our behalf during the Covid crisis.
“They have saved so many lives whilst sadly losing some of their own in the process. This summer’s installation is our way of acknowledging this and encouraging others to do the same.
“We are delighted to unveil the installation in Oxford, our home city, home to several wonderful hospitals, home to a plethora of scientific research facilities, and the birthplace of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine.
“NHS staff, key workers, frontline workers – we salute your courage, bravery, dedication and love.”
Further details about Standing with Giants and their installation can be found on the Standing with Giants website.
Dan Barton, a local artist and creator of the Standing with Giants installation, said: “This installation has been created as a tribute to all NHS and front-line workers who have lost their lives during the fight against COVID-19, and to show the families and friends who have lost loved ones that they will not be forgotten.
“Myself and my small team of dedicated volunteers have been working hard over the past three months to create this handmade, hand painted tribute from upcycled materials. Our intention is to take these figures on tour around the country by creating meaningful spaces for people to visit, reflect and look to the future.”
Councillor Mary Clarkson, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism at Oxford City Council, said: “The Standing with Giants installation is a moving and thoughtful piece of art. It gives us all a chance to reflect on our experiences over the past year and a half and the loved ones we have lost.
“I encourage members of the public to visit the space to experience the atmosphere the artist has created and allow themselves a moment for contemplation and the opportunity to grieve.”