A new sculpture by London street artist Stik has been displayed at the Royal Engineers Museum in Kent. The sculpture features a soldier turned away from the viewer, covering his face to protect himself from a nuclear blast.
The sculpture was created by Stik, who spent a year working with veterans who had witnessed nuclear tests in the 1950s. The goal was to create a piece of art that captured the vulnerability, resilience, and strength of soldiers sent out to witness atomic bombs when they were still boys.
Stik’s sculpture is a powerful and emotional representation of the human cost of nuclear warfare. It is a testament to the bravery of the soldiers called upon to witness these horrifying events and a reminder of the long-term health effects many of them suffered.
The sculpture will be cast into bronze to create the final product, a lasting tribute to these soldiers and their sacrifice. The sculpture was unveiled during the British Nuclear Test Veterans’ Association BNTVA annual conference in Gillingham.
This organisation has been working to raise awareness of the health problems faced by veterans who were present during nuclear tests. Despite their efforts, the Ministry of Defence has denied valid evidence of a link between the atomic tests and ill-health.
In expressing his solidarity with the veterans, Stik, who has recently joined the BNTVA, emphasised the importance of recognising and compensating them. He lamented that many people are unaware of the veterans’ plight, and he feels a strong connection with their invisibility, having experienced homelessness. Stik recreated his iconic minimalist stick figure, consisting of six lines and two dots around the radioactive symbol.
The unveiling of Stik’s sculpture is a powerful reminder of the importance of acknowledging the sacrifices of these soldiers and supporting those who continue to suffer from the long-term effects of their service.
The working maquette of Atomic will be on display at the Royal Engineers Museum in Gillingham, as part of the BNTVA’s Plym to Pamlico exhibition until March 2023. Then, another permanent place will be found to house this important sculpture.
The sculpture is in production, and the working maquette will be on display at the Royal Engineers Museum from October 2022 to March 2023
Image Credit Jenny Lewis British Nuclear Test Veterans Association’s (BNTVA) exhibition at the Royal Engineers Museum in Gillingham, Kent, in October.