Five thousand tiny ice figures descended onto a town square in Birmingham, England to help commemorate those who lost their lives in World War I.
The project by Brazilian artist, Néle Azevedo, drew thousands of spectators who were eager to snap photos of the tiny ice figurines as they melted in the summer sun. The small ice figures project, “Minimum Monument,” didn’t last long on the steps of Chamberlain Square because of the warm sun reported the Birmingham Mail.
The beautiful public art exhibit was an emotional one too, with some attendees decorating the ice sculptures with ribbons or flowers to honor lost relatives. The Birmingham Mail spoke with Pam Brooking whose great grandfather John Osborne Walford fought with the 8th Batallion Worcester Regiment:
“I think it’s amazing. All these people turning out and they’re doing it for someone else. Soon they (the sculptures) will all be gone but we will have the memories of today. He was born in 1893 in Saltley and joined the Coldstream Guards in 1917. He was injured on the Somme in March 1918, he passed away in May 1918.
I was putting him down today to mark 100 years. I felt really proud, it’s really emotional when you visit the battlefields, but today I got goosebumps.”
The Brazilian artist had done similar public works of art, but on a much smaller scale, using only around 1,500 ice sculptures. Azevedo had help from 20 volunteers who diligently worked to create the ice sculptures and transport them in 18 large freezers to the public square.
“They have worked very hard to make this happen so I am tremendously impressed by their commitment,” said Azevedo. “So many people coming together in a collective way makes it very special.”