Out and About 

Waxy Hands


Vange Primary School and Nursery

WW1 Commemoration - Art Installation

An Idea Is Born

We are very proud to be part of this exciting project.

Updates will be posted as the installation takes shape.

The following information has been taken from the school's website:


World War I Commemoration - Art Installation

As you will remember, we took a group of Year 5s and 6s to Passchendaele back in the May half term as part of the Basildon Twinning Association Forget Never Project.

While we were there, we saw a sculpture (pictured below) in the museum which had been inspired by the devastation to the trees as a result of the shelling during the First World War.

We felt the children would be able to produce something similar for the Forget Never exhibition at Wat Tyler at the end of September.

The children will each make two hands and staff and guests will also make pairs of hands to a total of 300. Each hand will represent one of the fallen of Basildon from World War I. The hands will be coloured poppy red, cornflower blue and forget-me-not blue to symbolise the flowers of remembrance from Britain, France and Germany. The hands will be mounted on 64 boards, painted black and white, to represent a chess board, the idea being that all the soldiers were simply pawns in a brutal war game.

The installation is jointly sponsored by the Twinning Association from the Lottery Funding they received and the school. We are thrilled to be working with Waxy Hands who will be in school next week dipping and dripping! Please feel free to pop along and have a look at the process.

Following the exhibition at Wat Tyler, a section of the installation will then make its way to the Houses of Parliament where it will be exhibited in November as part of their commemoration of the centenary of the First World War.

Work began by creating the 300 hands, which would represent the loss of lives during the First World War in the Basildon district.

Each pupil, staff member and governor, were involved.  The local MP Stephen Metcalfe even had his hand moulded, along with members from the Forget Never Project.

Gradually a sea of white hands began to appear.

Click this text to start editing. This simple title and text block is great for welcome or explanatory text. When writing, try to keep things down to a few lines at a time. Break up your content into different blocks to keep your page interesting.

The pupils painted the individual boards in black and white, to represent the chess board.  We then randomly placed the hands onto the boards, before securing them all into place.  The hands being white create an eerie feeling, which can be interpreted as the soldiers as they lay, or as the new life that they fought to allow us.

Among the white hands, there are also 3 pairs of coloured hands; red to represent the poppy, which is the remembrance flower of England, blue to represent the the forget-me-not of Germany and purple to represent the cornflower of France.  The gestures of the red hand represents struggle, the blue hand mercy and the purple hand release.

After making it into the Evening Echo newspaper, the art installation was shown as part of the WW1 commemoration at Wat Tyler, Basildon.  

Before a section was then whisked away to the Houses of Parliament!

The Mayor of Meaux has now invited the art installation to be displayed at the Museum of the Great War, in Meaux, France.

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:  Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.  At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.”

Robert Laurence Binyon