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Does French D-Day 'Art Installation' Desecrate Omaha Beach?


"How could the French government countenance this art installation, which manages to be both juvenile and deeply insulting at the same time?"

An installation of 1,000 casts of Russian, German and American combat helmets of WWII which also represent turtles, to denounce global violence, created by French artist Rachid Khimoune, is seen on Omaha Beach in Colleville sur Mer, western France, Sunday, June 5, 2011 at the eve of the D-Day Anniversary. (AP Photo/Vincent Michel)

Yep, that's a combination of a combat helmet merged with a sea turtle. And yes, a huge number of the turtles were spread across Omaha Beach today. Why? Well here is the AP version:

COLLEVILLE-SUR-MER, France (AP) — French artist Rachid Khimoune has installed 1,000 sculptures shaped like sea turtles on Omaha Beach to mark the 67th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy.

The turtles' "shells" are molded from American, Russian and German combat helmets, sprouting flippers and long-necked heads. The sculptures were arranged Sunday along the sandy expanses of Omaha Beach — where the Allies won a pivotal victory against the Nazis.

Some 215,000 Allied soldiers, and roughly as many Germans, were killed or wounded during D-Day and the ensuing nearly three months it took to secure the capture of Normandy.

A French artist of Berber origin, Khimoune is a sculptor, painter and video artist whose work often features everyday objects.

But the never-not-insightful blogger Zombie is asking the key question: "How could the French government countenance this art installation, which manages to be both juvenile and deeply insulting at the same time?"

Good question!

More Zombie:

I ask you: So, would the artist prefer that the Allies had refrained from committing any icky violence and instead not invaded Normandy, so as to preserve peace? In which case, France would to this day be calledFrankenreich, the western province of Greater Germany?

I mean, OK, sure, stupid artists make stupid art making stupid points all the time. But the French government gave permission for this particular statement to be made on Omaha Beach on the anniversary of D-Day.

The ghosts of 10,000 men who sacrificed their lives that day to save France all say “You’re welcome!” in unison.

Making it worse, Zombie has discovered that the Omaha Beach desecration is not an isolated incident for this artist.  You'll want to see that picture, and read a key passage Zombie has selected from George Orwell by clicking right here.

For what it's worth, I have a video of Khimoune playing with his turtles on location but before you hit play on the the Zombie link (here it is again) to see the still picture first.  Then you can play the video to be even more disgusted:

[youtube expand=1]

And for the record here is the posed still picture of the artist looking quite proud of his creation:

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