Solidarity sculpture for Ukraine goes up in Broad Street 

Published: 1 April 2022

Author: Richard Lofthouse


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A 12 ft high metal silhouette sculpture of a soldier leading a family of Ukrainian refugees to safety was unveiled in Broad Street at noon on 30 March.

Facing westwards means that viewing the sculpture leads the eye up Broad Street towards Balliol College on the left and the Sheldonian Theatre in the distance.

Although physically positioned in the midst of the University, the installation is the product of long shifts against the clock by Witney-based artist Dan Barton and volunteers, backed by not-for-profit organisation The Monumental Solidarity Project.

The reason for the sense of urgency is not only the suddenness of the war in Ukraine, but the ethos of Standing with Giants, a concept by Barton that has previously been responsible for placing cut-out silhouettes in open, public spaces.

Previous works have typically been of fallen soldiers, or during the pandemic NHS workers.

This time Barton is insistent on the need to mark the war now, when it is happening, and not just later when it is over.

He told the Oxford Mail, ‘Historically you get imagery like this, monuments, sculptures, tributes put up after the event to mark moments in history. What we have got to realise is that we are all living in this moment in history.’

His other purpose, beyond raising awareness, is to raise money towards helping Ukraine via the various charities and other humanitarian organisations who are seeking to help ordinary Ukrainians displaced by the war.