Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Pages of the Sea - the WW1 Beach Portraits

I only found out about Pages of the Sea Project at the weekend. Little did I realise when I was walking right behind Danny Boyle 10 days ago (he lives near me) that I'd be writing about him this week.

The Pages of the Sea - Beach Portraits Page
on 11 November 2018, communities will gather on beaches across the UK to say goodbye and thank you, to the millions of men and women who left their shores during the war, many never to return.
Pages of the Sea was the largest simultaneous coastal arts project ever to take place in the UK.

It's been a major public art project curated by Oscar-winning filmmaker Danny Boyle for the First World War centenary - with the aim that people all around the UK could get involved with a more informal commemoration of the centenary of the end of the war and a final salute to the people who gave their lives.  The aim of the project was to be open and democratic in a space which is open to anyone.

Watch this three minute video to see what happened across the UK on Sunday 11th November - the centenary of the end of the First World War.


It is the wound in Time. The century’s tides,
chanting their bitter psalms, cannot heal it.
Not the war to end all wars; death’s birthing place;
the earth nursing its ticking metal eggs, hatching
new carnage. But how could you know, brave
as belief as you boarded the boats, singing?
The end of God in the poisonous, shrapneled air.
Poetry gargling its own blood. We sense it was love
you gave your world for; the town squares silent,
awaiting their cenotaphs. What happened next?
War. And after that? War. And now? War. War.
History might as well be water, chastising this shore;
for we learn nothing from your endless sacrifice.
Your faces drowning in the pages of the sea.

Carol Ann Duffy, 2018.

Where the beaches were
Pages of the Sea was  commissioned by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary and was supported by The National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England and Big Lottery Fund, and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

The Sand portraits designed by Sand in your Eye. (You can see examples of their sand drawings on their website)

You can also see what happened on Sunday in the Facebook Live Page It lasts just over an hour.

Click here to watch our Facebook Live of the day so far, including Danny Boyle’s introduction to the project, Fiona Shaw reading Carol Ann Duffy’s poem The Wound In Time, Greg Jenner exploring the history of Folkestone, historian Kenneth Cromie at Murlough beach and footage from Folkestone, Colwyn Bay, Murlough, Blackpool, West Sands.

You can also read about the portraits of people who contributed to the First World War on www.livesofthefirstworldwar.org

The website for the Lives of the First World War Project run by the Imperial War Museum

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