We are two freelance artists - Sarah Wilson, a musician and audio artist and Ming de Nasty, a photographer.
We were commissioned by Birmingham City Council Arts Team, who asked us to produce a piece of work which represented the cultural diversity of those involved in World War II.
We decided to make a community led piece based around Birmingham’s residents, and are about to exhibit the finished work at the Mailbox between 8th and 29th October 2005.
Collecting source material and making the piece
We spent time talking to local groups such as The British legion and their welfare society, The Boys Brigade, local veterans clubs, memorial societies, residents of residential homes, church groups, day centres and age concern art scope.
This gave us a foundation to work from and enabled us to build links with people who have personal experiences of World War II.
We've demonstrated the diversity of not only those who fought in the war, but the people who were involved in different ways, such as people who were drafted from other countries, evacuees, fire services, Munitions assembly and people who were children during the war.
We also collected audio and visual samples, music and stories that symbolise elements of their experience and portraits of individuals.
Wonderful people and amazing stories
The people we worked with were from many walks of life. They are truly wonderful people and all have vivid and colourful stories to tell.
Details that we had never expected came out of the interviews and taught us a great deal about the world experience of war.
These rich audio samples were crafted into interviews and stories, which you can listen to individually, as well as a six track interactive sound piece which uses audio and music to allow the viewer to change the atmosphere in the room as they move around the exhibition.
No usual representations of war
From a visual perspective there are no uniforms or medals or usual representations of war, because the people we spoke to had none of these things.
Those that were in the army were not allowed to keep their uniforms and very few of them received a medal or in fact any recognition.
So we took close up portraits to force the viewer to concentrate on the people and who they are. Along with the sound piece this makes a very powerful installation.
Lest We Forget can be seen at The Mailbox from 8th to 29th October between 12 and 5pm. (It is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays).