Huge NHS Art Installation coming to Coventry

Published Friday, 08 October 2021

Visitors are invited to walk and move amongst 300 life-sized NHS inspired figures which will be on display from Monday 11 October until Friday 29 October 2021 in Coventry’s Coombe Abbey Park.

Standing with giants

The installation is the work of ‘Standing with Giants’, a not-for-profit organisation based in Oxfordshire, founded by Artist, Dan Barton, and enabled by a team of dedicated community volunteers who have worked tirelessly this summer to create this poignant and epic tribute.

The unique figures are all created from upcycled composite aluminium boards and attached to steel frames. They are individually hand cut, painted and assembled, and took the team three months to produce.

The backs of the figures are painted black to symbolise remembrance, with a white face mask to represent the harsh realities of Covid-19. When viewed from the back you will see a sea of silhouettes with face masks.

When viewed from the front you will view a sea of colourful frontline workers. Visitors are given the opportunity to write their own thoughts and reflections on the backs of the silhouettes using a (provided) paint pen – these powerful and moving messages are now part of the display and we look forward to adding to this in Coventry, where we will be fundraising for ‘NHS Charities Together’ and our community project, ‘Standing with Giants’, enabling us to take our installations on tour around the country.

Following a successful launch in Oxford in July, the installation will be making its way around the country – starting with Coventry.

“We are so excited to be visiting Coventry,” says Dan, “especially with it being the City of Culture this year. This is such a worthy and timely project and follows our ethos of remembering those who have given their lives for the freedom of others. This particular installation is to remember those NHS workers who lost their lives on the front line fighting Covid-19, whilst offering a massive thank you for the care and dedication given by current NHS and frontline staff, now and throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.  We have been overwhelmed by the amazing reactions from visitors, the heartfelt stories, the obvious need to grieve, and just the enormous positive energy towards the project”.

Coventry City Council are supporting Standing with Giants by hosting the outdoor exhibition at its Coombe Abbe Park venue and Cllr Abdul Salam Khan, Deputy Leader of the Council said: “I’m really looking forward to seeing the display close up. It is a fitting way to recognise the efforts of all key workers during the difficult months of the COVID pandemic and I’m sure local people will value the chance to see the exhibit while at the park.”

Cllr David Welsh, who is Cabinet Member with responsibility for arts in Coventry, added: “We were very keen to host the display because it provides a powerful artistic interpretation of a very difficult time for many of our communities. Considerable time and effort has gone into the production of this exhibition, and people will wish to use the display to reflect on the pandemic in whatever way it has most affected them.

“I’m sure it will make a powerful impression on visitors.”

The project relies heavily on its volunteers and the generosity of others, and are always on the look-out for local volunteers to join them in helping with installing the figures or to marshall throughout the duration of the event. This is a fantastic opportunity to give back to the wonderful people who do so much for us all. If you’d like to be involved please email the organisers at [email protected]

Coventry City Council