Paul Emmanuel's Return to Thiepval: Imprinting and Erasing Memories of the First World War

Tuesday 11 November at 18:00 for 18:30
Alliance française of Johannesburg 

paul emmanuel cropped

On the occasion of the commemoration of the end of the First World War, South African artist Paul Emmanuel presents his project The Lost Men France, accompanied by Bill Nasson’s historical contribution.

This evening will see the launch of From the trenches of the Marne to the hills of Rwanda: reflections on 100 years of war, genocide and mass violence, a series of featured events to commemorate World War I, World War II and the Rwandan Genocide organised by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, the Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre, the Goethe-Institut, the French Institute and the Alliance française.

RSVP This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / 011 646 11 69 / William Kazadi 
Venue: Alliance française of Johannesburg, 17, Lower Park Drive, Parkview


Paul Emmanuel is a well known South African artist leaving in Johannesburg. He was selected as the 2011 Featured Artist with his solo exhibition TRANSITIONS MULTIPLES for the FNB Joburg Art Fair, South Africa & in 2012 he was granted the Institut Français Visas Pour la Creation research residency, Paris, France.

Bill Nasson is Professor in the History Department of the Stellenbosch University. He specialises in the history of war and society and his works have been translated to Dutch, German, French and Italian. His new book, World War I and the People of South Africa is due in November this year.

About Lost Men France

The Lost Men France by contemporary South African artist Paul Emmanuel is the third phase of an ongoing international public art project engaging concepts of memory and collective grief. Located alongside the Thiepval Memorial, near where thousands of South African servicemen died alongside the Allies, it is an intervention in the Somme Circuit of Remembrance.

An anti-monument, it does not glorify war but asks questions about masculinity and vulnerability. It questions the exclusion of certain people in traditional memorials – in particular black South African servicemen. A three hundred metre road of silk banners bear the names of French, German, South African and Allied servicemen who fell on the Western Front. The names were photographed after being pressed into the artist’s body, without reference to rank, nationality or ethnicity.

These banners are hung in the landscape and left to the wind.