One hundred years after the end of World War I, Vic Marden of Tanilba Bay, Australia, took simple horseshoe nails and made them into art to honor this centenary event.

Marden made 34 gold-glossed soldiers comprised of seven nails each, according to the Port Stephen Examiner. The soldiers are lined up in memory of the centenary of the armistice that brought peace between Germany and the Allies. 

The soldiers were mounted to a board and were bronze welded. Marden coated the soldiers each with gold gloss lacquer. The guns the soldiers are holding were coated with pearly black nickel satin. Brass screws and stainless-steel washers were donated to make the soldiers’ hats. 

Marden wanted the sculpture to honor the sacrifice and service of the Australian servicemen and women in WWI. It also, in part, promotes appreciation and understanding toward those who played a role in shaping the nation over the last century. 

His mother played a key role in the inspiration for the memorial. 

“My mother had a cousin who served in WWI,” says Marden. “When he went off to fight, he carried my mother on his shoulders on his way to Bognor Regis train station.”

Unfortunately, his mother’s cousin did not return from battle. When Marden was 11, WWII was happening. He saw a lot of wounded veterans returning from the war, and it left a deep impression on him. 

“This memorial is in memory of all the events I witnessed as a schoolboy during WWII,” Marden says. 

In 2005, Marden’s daughter and son-in-law sent him a horseshoe nail sculpture of a rodeo cowboy mounted on a horseshoe base. This inspired him to start making some of his own.

“I adapted this to come up with a kangaroo design, which holds a ballpoint pen,” Marden says.

From there, he made necklaces and tealight candle holders. His soldiers are his proudest design yet. The sculpture will be on display at the Tilligerry Art Gallery in Lemon Tree Passage until Dec. 3, 2018. 

See photos of Marden's horseshoe nail memorial here.