The Melting Men

 “My sculptures remember people who are not remembered by other monuments” 
– Nele Azevedo 

It has been almost a century since the end of the First World War and the signing of peace sanction the Treaty of Versailles. We continue to pay our respects and give our thanks to millions of European soldiers and civilians who lost their lives, both literally and metaphorically speaking , fighting for their country between the 28th July, 1914 and the 11th November, 1918.

Brazilian sculptor  Nele Azevedo was the creator of the stunning art installation entitled ‘Minimum Monument’ which was  showcased in Birmingham’s Chamberlain Square to commemorate the anniversary of the start of WW1. The installation consisted of 5,000 little  ice sculpture figurines sitting along the steps at Chamberlain Square where they sat melting in the sunshine.

People travelled both locally and from afar to be a part of the spectacle and had the opportunity to  add their own ice figurine to the installation. This interaction that the people could have with the installation added impact to a special and emotional day as some decorated their sculptures with flowers, photographs and ribbons in memory of loved ones they had lost to the conflict.

 The sculptures took a fortnight to be created and they had vanished within hours, symbolising the lives of the people who had given up everything in pursuit of glory and honour in the name of their country. Azevedo wanted to make it clear that this was a monument created to memorialise everybody whose lives were affected by the war; the families and individuals who lost their loved ones, the survivors who were left broken and shell shocked and the men who died in action.