This haunting sculpture is made all the more powerful by its odd location. It’s backdropped by a half-collapsed barn, surrounded by the expanse of a remote field in the village of Checkendon in south Oxfordshire. There are no signs leading to the striking sculpture or plaques explaining its meaning.
The artwork, depicting two skeletons in an embrace, is titled “The Nuba Survival.” It was created by local Oxfordshire sculptor John Buckley (best known for his sculpture of a shark sticking out of a roof in Headington) following a visit to the Nuba Mountains in southern Sudan.
Buckley lived in the region from 2000 to 2001 as a guest of the Nuba Rehabilitation, Relief and Development Organisation (N.R.R.D.O.). Thirty years of fighting has left the indigenous tribes living in the Nuba Mountains on the edge of survival, what some relief groups are calling an ethnic genocide. Buckley was struck by the resilience, despite their suffering, of the people he met and created this incredible work to call attention to their plight.
Know Before You Go
From Checkendon, there is limited space to park on the lane to Exlade Street. Walk back to the sign for Checkendon, the statue is in the field to the left.
Do not take the private graveled track, keep to the left of the field, and don't block any gates.