CHICAGO (CBS) — A haunting tribute to young lives lost to gun violence was on display on the Gold Coast.

Mary Kay Mace got the first look at a piece of art that represents her daughter Ryanne, who was one of five Northern Illinois University students shot and killed inside a lecture hall in February 2008.

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“This is the first time I’ve seen it. It’s a little jarring. They look like real people when you walk up from behind. When you turn around and get to the front side of them and you don’t see a face, it’s a bit jarring,” she said.

The statue of Ryanne Mace was one of eight erected on display outside St. James Cathedral in Chicago. Each represents a life lost to gun violence.

“It’s extremely powerful and moving traveling art display that honors the lives of people lost to gun violence,” said Colleen Daley, Executive Director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence. “This is for every victim and because it’s so jarring and powerful, we hope people go online, sign the petition and get involved and take some sort of action.”

The “Unforgotten” exhibit includes a website providing ways to get involved, like signing a petition, joining a rally and volunteering, and a video documentary.

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“It’s real emotional. All these kids are under 20. I felt like I was driving to a child’s funeral. I look around and it’s good that they got together to do this. I think it’s great because it makes people stop. It’s really shock value. We need a shock value. We need to wake up and stop this,” said Annette Nance Holt, who lost her son Blair nearly 8 years ago.

“These are Blair’s clothes. These are all his original clothes. This is heartbreaking, for one because its a reminder,” she said, choking back tears. “I think to have your child remembered almost 8 years since he was murder and to have him still out here. People still remember my son, we are so humbled by that because he was so special to us.”

Pam Bosley’s son Terrell was killed in 2006. He was shot and killed as he was unloading musical equipment at a church.

“I tried to prepare myself for this but when I walked up and saw Terrell with his bass. He played the bass guitar and he always had it with him, just to see him with the base on his back, it was hard,” said Bosley.

Each statue has a nametag, and is attached to an app called Unforgotten. If you scan the nametag, you can see pictures and videos of the person’s life. It’s available for Android phones and soon be available through iPhone.

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The art display is currently outside St. James Cathedral, 65 E. Huron in Chicago and will be traveling to various places throughout the Chicago area.