THE LOST MEN FRANCE by contemporary South African artist Paul Emmanuel is the third phase of an ongoing international public art project engaging concepts of memory and collective grief. Located alongside the Thiepval Memorial, near where thousands of South African servicemen died alongside the Allies, it is an intervention in the Somme Circuit of Remembrance.

An anti-monument, it does not glorify war but asks questions about masculinity and vulnerability. It questions the exclusion of certain people in traditional memorials – in particular black South African servicemen. A three hundred metre road of silk banners bear the names of French, German, South African and Allied servicemen who fell on the Western Front. The names were photographed after being pressed into the artist’s body, without reference to rank, nationality or ethnicity.

These banners are hung in the landscape and left to the wind.

© paul emmanuel