Still Water: New UK memorial to terror victims abroad
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Still Water: New UK memorial to terror victims abroad

A memorial to British victims of terrorism overseas – including the 2008 Mumbai attacks – will be unveiled in the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

world Updated: Sep 11, 2017 19:41 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Still Water,National Memorial Arboretum,memorial to British victims of terrorism overseas
An Indian soldier aims his weapon towards The Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai on November 29, 2008 during a military operation. (AFP)

A unique memorial to British victims of terrorism overseas – including the 2008 Mumbai attacks – will soon be unveiled in the sylvan National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, in the hope that sitting beside it will offer a kind of balm.

Called Still Water, it will be installed later this year and a dedication event is planned forthe spring of 2018. Its design by artist Alison Wilding and sculptor Adam Kershaw has beendescribed as “simple, sensitive and beautiful”.

British nationals have been victims in several terror attacks in recent years, including the Mumbai carnage, the attack on Bataclan theatre in Paris, bombings in Bali, and the explosions in Moscow’s Domodedovo airport. A specific compensation scheme is available for such victims and families.

Tobias Ellwood, minister in the Foreign Office until June who was tasked in 2015 by former premier David Cameron to deliver the memorial, said: “My hope is that this memorial will become a peaceful and contemplative site, offering solace and comfort to those affected by the terrible terrorist events that we have seen taking place overseas, and impacting on British citizens.”

Belinda Green, whose husband Stephen was killed in an attack on an Algerian gas plant in 2013, said: “Still Water represents the calm after a storm. For me it reflects how the trauma of the event for any person who suffers loss will eventually lessen but not be forgotten.”

Officials said the memorial is sited a short distance within the copse so that it might gradually reveal itself, like coming across a hidden pool within a woodland glade. The pathways leading to the memorial will be made of natural materials and softened by the growth of the woodland floor so that this feeling of discovery is enhanced.

The memorial itself is composed of a concrete ellipse set just below ground level so that its perimeter becomes blurred and softened as nature takes its course.

The memorial’s description says: “Colour is added to the top layer of cement, which is hand-trowelled to give a ruffled effect, as if the dark waters of the hidden pool are being stirred by a gentle breeze. The concrete ellipse is crisscrossed with brass meridian lines that form a strong armature for the base of the work and also echo the lines encircling the globe.

“The surface of the ellipse contains seven pale cast concrete shapes, which shift between figuration and landscape and reference a mountainous terrain. Three elements, water, land and air, come together in the work which is titled Still Water.

“If sitting by a woodland pool offers a kind of balm, the artist hopes that so might this memorial. The seating comprises a two-tiered quarter section which follows the curve of the concrete ellipse, with slats of heat-treated ash providing the base and back between the armrests. It is turned away from the main pathway to allow for quiet contemplation.”

First Published: Sep 11, 2017 19:39 IST