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Huge artwork highlights global impact of Covid-19 on children

Sand In Your Eye

By Dave Higgens, PA

A huge child’s face has been created from 6,000 life-size figures of playing youngsters to symbolise a warning that thousands of children could die worldwide due to the effects of Covid-19.

Professional land artists from Sand In Your Eye have produced the huge artwork near Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire.

Artists Claire and Jamie Wardley said they were moved to make the 110m-long image, which covers 11,000 sq m, after watching a TV report on the impact of Covid-19 on the already terrible situation for children in Yemen.

They said their research then led them to Unicef’s warning that 6,000 children a day could die due to the impact of coronavirus on access to health services, vaccinations and other vital supplies.

Mrs Wardley said: “It was just heart-breaking to see because we’re parents.”

Her husband said: “As parents we were devastated by it and moved by it.

“So we thought ‘let’s do something about that’.

“Six thousand children dying a day is a really hard number to comprehend. What does that look like?

“So we thought ‘let’s do a painting and show people what it looks like’.”

They said they were originally planning to model the huge face on their daughter but the “thought of it was too much” so opted for an anonymous template.

Mr Wardley said: “We want people to ask themselves ‘what if that was my kid?’ and ‘would I be able to cope with that?’.

“To imagine that even for a moment is extremely distressing.”

The field art took three days to make with a team of seven people and is being revealed to coincide with World Children’s Day on Friday.

Becky Dallison, head of campaigns at Unicef UK, said: “From a Unicef perspective, anything that highlights in an accessible way that horrifying statistic that an additional 6,000 children could lose their lives every day as a result of the impact of coronavirus on health services is wonderful.

“The images I’ve seen look fantastic. It looks really inspiring.

“But it really brings home the scale of this problem.”

Ms Dallison said the impact of coronavirus is “the biggest challenge facing children since World War Two” and is reversing a decade of progress in ending preventable childhood deaths.

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