11. 11. 20.
Michael Sandle, Ghosts I (2005). Print on Velin Arches Paper. Etching on Copper in Black.
Edition of 150. 22.5" x 26.75".
British born artist Michael Sandle is internationally celebrated for creating powerful images and sculptures that confront life’s greatest atrocities of war. Sandle attributes his obsession with war — as an artist, historian and citizen — to his childhood. The son of a chief petty officer in the Royal Navy, young Sandle grew up in Plymouth, UK to the sound of bombs. He reflects, “I remember when we left to be evacuated. We were on the train and my mother pointed out of the window to a scene of total devastation and said, ‘That’s where we used to live’.”
The decimation of generations within communities is central to Sandle’s Ghostsseries, published by ARTContent in 2005. During WW1, the British Army employed the ‘Pals Battalions’ recruitment strategy, by which they enlisted entire groups of family, friends, neighbours and colleagues with the promise soldiers would serve alongside their kin. When creating this body of work, Sandle had in mind a group of Pals from a district of the Yorkshire city of Leeds, who were killed almost to a man on the infamous first day of the battle of the Somme on July 1, 1916. _____ The sheer heartbreak and loss felt by entire communities due to the introduction of Pals Battalions throughout Britain adds yet a new layer of tragedy to “The War to End All Wars.” The sardonicism bleeds deep. The terror lives on.
Today on November 11, 2020, we reflect upon Sandle’s work; both skillfully executed and emotionally poignant in its illustration of the inevitable loneliness of death. These moments portrayed are grim and they are senseless; yet, the sacrifices of those who have encountered them are never forgotten. _____