Luke Jerram In Memoriam
The ceremonial art installation of over 100 flags, made from NHS hospital bed sheets, forms a striking display against the backdrop of City Hall and Bristol Cathedral. It has been created in memorial to losses experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic and made in tribute to the work of NHS, health and social care staff and volunteers who have given so much to so many.
In Memoriam was originally commissioned in 2020 by the Arts & Culture Programme at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW) and Culture Weston. Since then, owing to the pandemic, this poignant piece of public art has toured throughout the UK and Europe, but this will be its first appearance in Bristol.
In Memoriam now returns to the artist’s hometown as a temporary memorial for people to visit and remember, as Luke Jerram explains:
‘It’s great to finally bring the artwork home to Bristol. This piece reflects changing moods and atmospheres according to the weather and how visitors interact with it. I hope this artwork will create a framed space and moment in time for personal and shared reflection.’
Throughout its installation on College Green, In Memoriam will act as a setting for a community programme of acoustic music, poetry, movement and individual personal acts of remembrance.
Anna Farthing, Arts Programme Director of UHBW explains; ‘In Memoriam is a tribute to the NHS health and care staff who continue to serve others during these most exceptional times. We could not have got through the pandemic to date without them. Public art that is accessible and engaging provides an opportunity for the NHS and social care sector to engage with local people in a slower, gentler and more reflective way. This internationally renowned artistic installation offers a moment of contemplation for everyone that visits. It helps us reflect upon the unique personal impact that the pandemic has had – touching all of our lives – personally, at home, at work and in our local community.’
The project is supported by the West of England Combined Authority Reopening High Streets Safely Fund to support the safe reopening and recovery of the High Streets following COVID-19 restrictions, as well as Bristol City Centre BID, inviting people back to the city centre safely.
Vicky Lee from Bristol City Centre BID explains; ‘Our Love Bristol campaign invites everyone back to the city centre and all our amazing shops, restaurants and bars, creating moments of joy on the streets of Bristol. This is a great initiative from our partners UHBW. In Memoriam is a beautiful multi-sensory experience and will look stunning on location in College Green. We want to encourage everyone to explore, while also remembering to be kind, safe and respectful of each other’s space.’
Additional support for the project is being provided by the Bristol Cathedral, which will be welcoming visitors to light a candle in memory of a lost loved one, as well as the opportunity to write commemorative messages.
Festival of the Future City
Festival of the Future City takes place every two years in Bristol. This year – due to the pandemic – the festival brings together live on-stage, live online and pre-recorded events. Check the project page for details and follow #FutureCity21 on Twitter.