What does freedom mean to me? This is a question that ArtHouse Jersey is posing to all islanders. Why? It’s for a very exciting and important project and it couldn’t be easier for us all to take part
2020 is no ordinary year for Jersey. The 9th of May 2020 marks 75 years since Jersey was liberated from German Occupation. Historically this is a very important year in the island’s history and it deserves to be recognised and celebrated. That’s why ArtHouse Jersey is asking islanders to get involved.
The Second World War
The Channel Islands were the only part of the British Isles to be occupied during the Second World War. The occupying forces saw our little islands as a stepping-stone to invading Britain. Under the occupying forces life on Jersey changed dramatically. Islanders were isolated and cut off from the outside world after the Germans outlawed the use of crystal radio sets. This meant that islanders were unable to get news from the mainland although some people risked their lives by making their own radios.
Islanders were also forced to drive on the wrong side of the road, there were severe petrol shortages and food became scarce until the Red Cross ship SS Vega was able to get in with supplies. Hitler ordered that Jersey be turned into a fortress as part of his “Atlantic Wall”. Today you can still see many of these fortifications around the island.
We know just how difficult and challenging life was under the occupation from the first-hand accounts of people who survived it. However, as the years pass there is a real fear that these stories will be lost, that people will stop remembering. There is no doubt that the occupation is such a significant part of our island’s history.
Remembering and Reflecting – Liberation 75
Liberation 75 is incredibly important and it allows us to reflect on our past, keep the memory of Liberation Day going and it is a chance for senior citizens to pass on their knowledge, experiences and stories to the younger generations. It is the passing down of these stories that helps us ensure history is never repeated. Liberation Day is also a day of thanks and a chance to remember those incredible people who lived through it.
Islanders can take part in the official celebrations of Liberation 75 and it couldn’t be easier. You could become part of history by taking part in one of “the most ambitious of participatory art Jersey has seen”. ArtHouse Jersey has commissioned The People’s Picture to create ‘The Face of Liberation’. A photo mosaic featuring the faces of Jersey inhabitants past and present. This mammoth art project will cover 1,000 square foot of wall in St Helier.
How You Can Take Part
Your face could be up on that wall. This is your opportunity to be part of an incredibly important art project. ArtHouse Jersey is asking for your selfie. All you need to do is take your photo (it should be faces and portraits only) and upload it here . You will then be invited to reflect and explain what freedom means to you.
I wanted to add my face and voice to this beautiful art installation. I am proud to be a part of Jersey’s community and I am extremely grateful for the life I now lead. So, what does freedom mean to me?
I am able to write; share my thoughts and scatter them across the internet without fear of censorship – my voice might be small, but I am free to use it to make a difference. We all need to remember that like life, freedom is fragile. We have a voice and we must use it; we must scream for those whose voice has been suffocated. Freedom isn’t guaranteed for everyone, yet it is something that many of us take for granted.
When we have freedom we always have hope.
I asked my ten-year-old what freedom means to her and she said it far more succinctly than me –
“Freedom means that there is no one bossing me around and I’m free to live my life like I want to”
What would you say? Head over to the ArtHouse Jersey website and take part in the Liberation 75 project. You need to submit by Sunday 15th March.