Greenwich+Docklands International Festival

Luke Jerram’s ceremonial art installation has been created as a memorial to those we have lost in the COVID-19 pandemic. The artwork has also been made in tribute to the NHS staff and volunteers who have worked so tirelessly to care for so many. Created from bed sheets, In Memoriam is intended to be an evocative symbol of local, national and international solidarity, as a space for reflection, remembrance, and recognition. 

Luke says, ‘Not many people have been able to grieve properly, with loved ones unable to visit their relatives in hospitals,  funerals cancelled, churches and cathedrals closed. So, although it feels like we’re only half-way through this pandemic, there’s a massive need for an artwork that can help us grieve for those we’ve lost.’

See Greenwich+Docklands International Festival programme.

The installation will take place on Woolwich Common and features specially commissioned NHS Blue flags. Entry will be free but ticketed to ensure that social distancing measures can be adhered to by all audience members.

As a thank you to NHS workers, GDIF will be presenting a daily programme of local performances specifically for the staff of Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust. This programme will also be available to everyone through live streaming and will include performances from Greenwich Dance as well as readings, reflections and performances.  

Created in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, In Memoriam acts as a ceremonial space for reflection and remembrance. 

You can read this moving opening speech by Councillor Danny Thorpe –  Leader, Royal Borough of Greenwich

Poet Lemn Sissay – Poetry is the language of pandemic. 

The ceremonies will be held on the opening and closing days of the installation (28 and 31 August) for audiences of 120, with priority given to NHS workers, and made available to a wider audience online later in the festival. The programmes of music, readings, poetry and spoken word performance has been chosen to reflect on and respond to the current global crisis. These include music from the chart-topping Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Choir, singing together for the first time since Lockdown began, singer Abiona Omonua with the London String Group and a BSL choir , The Alexandras, formed for the occasion. There will also be contributions from poets Lemn Sissay, Mark “Mr T” Thompson, and NHS Nurse Molly Case; artistic directors Kwame Kwei-Armah and Jenny Sealey; actors Nadia AlbinaRakie AyolaTanya FranksMartina Laird , Joseph Millson and Jay Simpson; award-winning author of Life As a Unicorn Amrou Al-Kadhi; as well as a newly commissioned piece from Greenwich Dance.

Audience members are requested to respect the fact that this installation is a memorial for quiet reflection. Please note that children must be accompanied.