Dorset House Garden
off Church Street
8 June 2018
Unveiling & Reception: Friday 8 June, 12 noon
The Children of Calais is a life-sized sculpture of six children in poses echoing The Burghers of Calais by Auguste Rodin. The piece is designed to provoke debate about the inhumanity of our response to the children caught up in the ongoing refugee crisis.
The sculpture will be unveiled by Lord Dubs, Labour peer and former child refugee, who is outspoken in his criticism of the current Government’s decision to renege on its previous commitment to take in 3,000 unaccompanied children.
Rodin’s original memorialises a moment during the Hundred Years’ War when Calais was under siege by England for over a year and King Edward offered to spare the people of the city on condition that six of its burghers would surrender themselves.
Ian Wolter’s sculpture evokes a parallel narrative: the sacrifice being demanded of child migrants for our ‘greater good’. Dressed in contemporary clothing, one of the figures holds a lifejacket in place of the city key held in Rodin’s original.