Giant grass painting to celebrate children materialises on a hillside in Yorkshire

People living in Hebden Bridge have been treated to a memorable way to get across a vital message as artists create a giant grass painting on a hillside.

Members of the Hebden Bridge-based company Sand In Your Eye - who famously worked with film director Danny Boyle in 2018 to create dozens of images of First World War soldiers on British beaches to commemorate the Armistice centenary - were in Hebden Bridge this week for their latest assignment.

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A team artists have created a 110m-wide striking image, (covering 11,000 square metres in total), made up of 6000 life size figures of playing children that when viewed from the sky forms a child’s face, on a hillside above the market town.

Hebden Bridge-based company Sand In Your Eye have created a huge 110m-wide image made up of 6000 life size figures of playing children, that when viewed from the sky forms a childs face. Photo credit: Sand In Your Eye

The poignant project entitled: 6000 Children is a tribute to mark International Children’s Day, today, (20 November) and to raise awareness that up to 6,000 children are at risk of dying daily, worldwide, as an indirect cause of the Coronavirus pandemic, as it affects their country’s infrastructure, food supplies and healthcare.

Jamie Wardley, the artistic director and founder of Sand In Your Eye studios, established in 2003, said he had created the work in the hope that the artwork will bring home to people the scale of the problem and the plight of the individual children.

He said: “As parents ourselves of young children, we were distressed to hear that so many children could lose their lives from preventable causes in the UK and abroad.

“Statistics like 6000 children losing their lives are difficult to comprehend so we decided that would paint them so people can see what that number really looks like.”

The poignant project by Sand In Your Eye, entitled: '6000 Children', is a tribute to mark International Childrens Day today and to raise awareness of the startling news that up to 6,000 children are at risk of dying daily. Photo credit: Sand in Your Eye

The team of six artists spent more than three days creating the master piece, with the drawing created while the artists followed social distancing guidelines with the image of the completed drawing captured through the use of a drone.

The project was supported by UNICEF, as part of it’s campaign calling on global leaders to include children’s needs in global recovery plans from the pandemic.

Rebecca Dallison, Head of Campaigns, UNICEF UK said: “The pandemic is the most urgent global crisis affecting children’s lives in living memory.

“Around the world and here in the UK, children’s support systems have been ripped away, their borders closed, their education and access to routine health care disrupted and their food supply cut off.

Pictured, theteam of six artists from Sand In Your Eye spent more than three days this week creating the master piece on the hillside in Hebden Bridge to be ready for World Childrens day, today(20 November), to highlight the challenges faced by children around the world.Photo credit: Sand In Your Eye

“This art installation draws attention to the worst-case scenario for ‘generation COVID’. But this nightmare can be averted if urgent action is taken.

“The UK Government can take leadership in delivering those solutions by placing children at the center of its recovery plan – both at home and abroad.”

Sand In Your Eye large scale artworks

- The latest artwork from the Hebden Bridge-based company follows on from a giant sand drawing in Whitby of a real-life nurse, created in July which made national headlines.

The team of artists, from Sand In Your Eye, have created a striking image made up of 6000 life size figures of playing children, that when viewed from the sky forms a childs face, in Hebden Bridge. Photo credit: Sand In Your Eye.

A team of six spent five hours creating a drawing depicting ICU nurse Paula Burrows wearing a face covering made up of lines that are 2m apart and contained within a coronavirus cell, alongside the text: “2m. Together we protect each other.”

Paula is the sister-in-law of company founder Jamie Wardley and she works at a hospital in Oldham on the coronavirus frontline.

The project was supported by tourist agency Welcome to Yorkshire, as part of its work to kickstart the region’s £9bn visitor economy after months of lockdown.

- Previously at the beginning of lockdown in April, Mr Wardley, also created a huge tribute to the heroes of the NHS in a West Yorkshire field.

The 100m-wide (328ft) NHS logo, filled with hearts and signed off with a “thank you”, was created by Mr Wardley in Mytholmroyd – a town which found itself in the news earlier this year when it was flooded during torrential storms.

Mr Wardley said he had created the work to thank NHS staff ahead of the Clap For Carers campaign, which took place each Thursday evening at the peak of lockdown.

Jamie Wardley, the artistic director and founder of the Hebden Bridge-based Sand In Your Eye studios, said he had created the work in the hope that this striking image will bring home to people the scale of the problem and the plight of the individual children. Photo credit: Sand In Your Eye

The artwork took up an entire school field in Hebden Bridge, after children chose the 17-year-old Swede as a woman who inspired them.

Children from Hebden Royd Primary School chose to paint the 60m by 20m portrait of Greta to mark International Women’s Day 2020.

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