Art students at Kirklees College are looking for information about local war heroes to help create a project to commemorate them.
The college’s Batley School of Art in Birkdale Road, Dewsbury, was formerly Wheelwright Grammar School and the building has a memorial of names of local soldiers - former pupils of the school - who were killed in the First World War.
Local artist Andy Farr, working with tutor Clare Grace and her students, is looking for information on the men featured so they can create an art project in their memory – and is appealing for help from local people.
Clare said: “Every working day students, staff and visitors walk past the memorial. To the students they are probably just a list of names.
“We would like our students to look at the memorial, and instead of a name see the young man who sacrificed his life during that terrible war and to have an opportunity to reflect about the wider issues around conflict.
“It is very moving to think that many of the men named on the Wheelwright Monument would have been the same age of our students. Like our students they would have had families and friends, hopes and dreams; that is why we would like the students to connect with some of the soldier’s life stories and develop work to commemorate them.”
The team are looking for anyone who is related to the soldiers on the memorial or any information, newspaper clippings or photographs which would help the students develop their art work.
They are also interested in the role Asian soldiers played during World War I.
Artist Andy Farr has developed the project which is being part funded by Arts Council called Lost Generation.
It is an initiative to make the WWI centenary more relevant to today’s young people by involving them in the creation of original art works.
Andy said: “The inspiration for this project came from the thought that 100 years ago my two teenage sons would have been part of the generation of men, and boys, sent to war.
“If you were 14 on August 4, 1914 then either you or your friends would not have been alive four years later - almost a third of 16-20 years olds died during WWI. Those that did survive would have been physically injured and mentally scarred.”
Some of the work produced will be part of an exhibition at Batley Art Gallery next Spring. It will then return ‘home’ to Batley School of Art – Wheelwright Centre, where it will be proudly displayed as a permanent exhibit to commemorate the Wheelwright ‘old boys’ and to connect with generations of students in the future.
Contact Jonathan Hepworth or Clare Grace – email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or call 01924 451649 extension 2805 or 2812.