Extraordinary Installation Created for Holocaust Memorial Day

Arts & Education

"EVERY Voice Matters" is the title of a unique art installation at the centre of Tameside's National Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration on Friday, January 27.

Designed to promote a message of tolerance, it has been created by pupils from all six of Tameside's special schools in collaboration with the Lakes Care Centre, Dukinfield, and with support from Tameside Cultural Services and its associated arts and events team.

The installation takes the form of a mannequin of Anne Frank constructed from extracts from her famous diaries.

Anne was an ordinary Jewish teenager who movingly chronicled her family's years in hiding in Amsterdam as they unsuccessfully attempted to avoid banishment to a death camp.

Those sheltering the Franks and others did so knowing they would be executed if betrayed to the authorities. The mannequin Anne holds an album bearing their pictures.

Each of the schools embraced a different dimension. While one considered the atrocities of the Holocaust, and established a creative response, another looked at tolerance and the fact it's okay to be different.

In a first for a Tameside Special Educational Needs arts collaboration, the spoken word was used as an artform thanks to the support of artist Dommy B and Jonathan McKee from the Anne Frank Trust.

All the students took part in Arts Award Discover, a nationally recognised qualification run by Trinity College, London. Their diaries and sketchbooks – which include some of the ordinary people the pupils consider to be heroes – form part of the installation, scattered about Anne's feet.

Each bears a QR code which allows the audience to listen to spoken words produced by the relevant school.

Cllr Leanne Feeley, Tameside Council's executive member for education, achievement and equalities, said: "During the Holocaust millions were killed because of their perceived racial or biological inferiority.

"Even though those events took place almost 100 years ago it's absolutely vital we remain on our guard so they are never forgotten or repeated. The best way to do that is through education and projects such as this.

"It's also important to bear in mind that even in the most terrible times, when most of Europe was under Nazi occupation, there were still good people who were prepared to risk everything to help those in need."

The unveiling of the Anne Frank installation takes place at Thomas Ashton School, Bennett Street, Hyde, at 10am on Friday, January 27.

It will then go on tour when it will be hosted for a week by the other participating schools –Hawthorns, Audenshaw; Safe Start, Ashton; Cromwell, Dukinfield; Samuel Laycock School, Ashton and Oakdale, Hyde – before returning to Thomas Ashton as its permanent home.

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