And Men Did This
[Thoughts on the Western Front residency 2017]
The weeks spent on the Western Front tore my heart out. Although I knew some of its chilling history; the trenches, battle lines, hundreds of deaths where I stood, I could still not believe that men did this. Even when the land from that war sighed ‘it was ever so’.
The difference between this war and others was its enhanced killing capabilities. The industrial revolution brought to life machine guns that unleashed hails of bullets, long range artillery and aerial bombardment. All three new weapons were more advanced in Germany yet were dismissed by the British and French called “overrated” by British General Haig.
The massive and vast majority of deaths on all sides would of course be everyday people.
The disregard with which endless men were tossed to their immediate deaths to little or no result for five years humbles me in the face of the energy, relentless courage, resourcefulness and tenacity of civilians and troops of all nations. I grieve for their families, my own included.
2018-20 Salient, Contemporary Artists at the Western Front – touring exhibition