Monday, 9 January, 2017

As part of this year's arts programme, HMDT has commissioned 12 groups (one per region / nation of the UK), to create a permanent artwork in their local community that commemorates HMD. In keeping with the theme for HMD 2017, How can life go on?, the artworks explore the theme of absence and the roots needed for life to regrow after the Holocaust and genocide. 

The permanent artworks created for the HMD 2017 arts programme will act as focal points for local activities this year and in years to come, providing thoughtful places of reflection in many different community settings. 

Work on many of the permanent artworks is nearly complete, with sculptures, gardens, collages and murals all exploring this year's theme. 

This project is part of the wider arts programme for HMD 2017: Reflections on loss and living. HMDT is asking people to reflect on this year's theme and contribute an artistic submission to the Wall of Life. From photos to paintings and poems to films, we have already had a fantastic response. 

The 12 community groups are:

Repton School, East Midlands


The Y11 scholarship group has created a collaborative sculpture featuring figures working together towards a compassionate human future. It includes moving elements, light and dark, and symbolic motifs.






Sawston Village College, East of England

Sawston Village College secondary school, together with its seven feeder primary schools and the South Cambridgeshire Decorative and Fine Arts Society has created a permanent wall sculpture from galvanised steel, for a public display on the exterior of a building as part of the school site.


London Schools Group, Greater London



Young people from 20 different schools across London created a single artwork capable of being separated into different parts. Involving a variety of mixed media, the artwork will reside as a photographic image at Hampton School with elements displayed at the other schools.




BloomInArt, North East

Working together over a five week period, 30 refugees and asylum seekers have produced an artwork using elements of creative writing, wet and needle felting and fused glass. The artwork explores stories of displacement and refugees.




St Nicholas Catholic High School, North West




Students from the Sixth Form community volunteer group have created a herb garden, including rosemary and lavender –symbols of memory and healing. They designed and installed signposts featuring motifs of absence, roots and rebirth in a variety of media.



HMP Magilligan, Northern Ireland


The Prison Arts Group built upon their Empty Spaces exhibition, created for Holocaust Memorial Day 2016, combining cut-outs of family and friends, and newlyplanted silver birch trees and contributions from visiting school children.


Firrhill High School, Scotland

One hundred Art & Design students from Firrhill High School aged 14-15 years old produced memorial collages that celebrate the lives of the victims of the Holocaust and their families. The students used diverse materials such as wax, acetate, collage, layering and simple stitch techniques working in groups of two or three. The memorial collages are displayed on their 72 Lanterns Installation to symbolise the 72 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau and show their hope that human beings everywhere must learn to live with each other and work together to build a better world for all.

HMP Grendon Therapeutic Community, South East

Prisoners at HMP Grendon have created a two-part mural of a tree and its roots. The roots represent the various genocides and attitudes of hate towards others. The tree symbolises regrowth after genocide, reducing prejudice through raising awareness and challenging attitudes. A combination of art media has been used, including collage, painting, mosaic and papier mache.

Jaio Lihi, South West



A 3D relief sculptural plaque has been created out of stoneware clay with a carved design that emphasises both the theme of HMD 2017 as well as incorporating a visual response. The voice of the survivors speaks to future generations.


Merthyr Tydfil Public Libraries, Wales

A garden of reflection with a mosaic centrepiece was created, around which are planted flowers and shrubs. The garden is to be used as a quiet area to reflect on the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. It will also be used as a community space and will become the focal point for the Holocaust Memorial Day commemorations held in Merthyr Tydfil each year.


Works 4 Me, West Midlands


A group of adults with learning difficulties created an arts trail of small ceramic pieces hanging in trees, leading to a bigger ceramic installation. Created by pressing personal objects – buttons, broaches and watches – into clay, the imprints appear fragile and broken.





New Visuality, Yorkshire and the Humber

Young people from economically deprived backgrounds, or with disabilities or learning difficulties, designed and produced flowers echoing the star of David using a 3D printer. The artwork is displayed next to the Clifford Tower in York, where 150 Jews were massacred in 1190.