I was already stunned by his “Knives angel” but this one is even more relevant to my storytelling. Alfie Bradley is a brilliant artist from UK. I am honored to introduce his artwork as perfect match to my mental health advocacy related to terrorism 2015-2021.
You can find more about this artwork in my blog article here (November 2020).
The National Sculpture for Reflection
Encouraging British youths to reflect on their choices, prior to leaving the U.K to fight abroad.
What does this sculpture address?
In 2015, various media platforms were filled with concerns regarding British youths fighting foreign wars, in areas such as Syria. During this time, the British Government became increasingly aware of the large number of young citizens leaving their native country for conflict zones, where they were fully embraced, trained, and fought for terrorist organisations, without fully understanding the implications of their actions for their own country, their communities and their families.
Why does it happen?
Driving factors as to why young citizens travel aboard vary from person to person and include, but are not limited to; terrorist ideology, social, political, and religious beliefs. Other individuals simply travel because of boredom, a desire for the perceived idea of adventure or feeling of wanting acceptance from a group. Whatever the reasons, there is no denying that these decisions horribly affect not only their own lives, but everyone else they leave behind.
We need to start to raising awareness in our vulnerable neighbourhoods and communities throughout the U.K. It is time to step in and recognise the huge part we can all play in helping to prevent radicalisation and the subsequent travel of British youths to conflict areas from the onset. Making British youths aware of the troubles, traumas, and the issues that they will undoubtably face and experience, can give rise to honest and productive reflection. If we, as a nation, can reduce the number of youths travelling abroad, then perhaps, we can be a real force in counteracting violent extremism.
Why was it created?
The British Ironwork Centre prides itself on addressing difficult national and community issues through the medium of metal art. The ‘National Sculpture of Reflection’ was created to be a genuine and very real catalyst for young people to reconsider their decisions and to help prevent them from being entrapped by terrorist organisations. The sculpture was designed to encourage conversations surrounding all these issues and how we, the people, can better support the young people of the UK.
What does it depict?
The sculpture, at first glance, depicts a hooded figure with a firearm, taking a moment to reflect upon their life choices amidst the battlefield. Surrounded by rubble and chaos within a decimated landscape, it highlights the devastation caused by war, not only physically but mentally. One can almost feel the pain, as the figure sits their silently alone, reflecting on the horrors of what they have seen and done, that they can now never undo.
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