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London Rooftop Sculptures: Project 84 Unravelled
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London Rooftop Sculptures: Project 84 Unravelled

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For anyone that happened to gaze up in London's bustling city centre on Monday, a peculiar and deeply disturbing spectacle would have met their vision: 84 men, silently poised on office rooftops as though they were on the verge of jumping to a bitter end.

And yet, the men people see aren't even real. Rather, they are life-sized sculptures, situated on these buildings to bring attention to the painful reality of suicide.

According to CNN, the life-like figures were set up overnight as part of the Project 84 campaign, an idea that was brought to fruition by the American street artist, Mark Jenkins, in partnership with the Campaign against Living Miserably (CALM), a charity that is centred on suicide prevention, which is supposedly the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK.

As is indicated by their site, the sculptures form representatives of the 84 men that, as average statistics indicate, commit suicide each week in the UK. CALM also tells us that three in four victims of suicide are men. So we can understand the sense of urgency behind the project. Simon Gunning, CALM CEO, said "As a society we have to move past embarrassment and awkwardness, we have to face this awful issue, discuss it and actively work to stop it," 

The life like statues, all with masked faces, were positioned at the rooftop edge of around several buildings that belong to the UK television service, ITV, and were there up until April 1.

The statues were made from packing tape
Sandra Fernandez was one of the few talents of whom Jenkins collaborated with to make the statues. Each one of the 84 is representative of a real male suicide victim. As a further act of commemoration, their personal tales are reported by Project 84 on their website.

The daily show, "This Morning", by ITV, incorporated interviews on Monday with relations and friends of the 84 men of whom were at the projects heart.

Gunning stated, "Underpinning this campaign is hope, hope that by telling these stories we can all better understand the complexities of suicide and strive for change," 

Online feedback to the project has been primarily supportive.

According to CNN, one observer on Twitter stated: "So important that we break the stigma of men's mental health and let people know it's OK not to be OK,"

It should also be mentioned that, in the aftermath of Project 84, the creators are hoping that their online petition drive will push Britain's government to take action to put the mechanisms in place for better suicide prevention and bereavement aid. The petition shows promise, with over 80,000 citizens having signed it already.

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