Reconciliation exhibition: Coventry Cathedral

C4M(A5)Front(3mmbleed)‘Reconciliation’ is an exhibition by commission4mission artists in the Chapel of Christ the Servant at Coventry Cathedral (1 Hill Top, Coventry CV1 5AB) from 10 March – 12 April 2019. Cathedral opening hours: Mon to Sat – 10 am to 5 pm (Last entry for visitors is 4 pm), Sun – 12 noon to 4 pm (Last entry is 3 pm). Private view: Saturday 9th March 5-7pm

‘Reconciliation’ is a group show by commission4mission artists. The title and theme for the exhibition can be understood in terms of reconciliations that are emotional, political, personal, biblical, national, communal etc.

Revd Jonathan Evens, commission4mission’s secretary says: ‘Our artists have reflected broadly on the theme responding with imagery that ranges from various forms of embrace, through pardoning and connections to aspects of the Life of Christ including Annunciation, Crucifixion and Glorification. Contemporary issues addressed include conflicts in the Middle East and plastic pollution. There are also images of Coventry Cathedral itself, emphasising its reconciliation ministry. A mix of abstract and representational imagery has been created, utilising ceramics, collage, digital illustration, drawing, painting, photography and sculpture.’

C4M(A3)nobleedThe exhibition includes work by Ally AshworthHayley BowenHarvey BradleyIrinaBradleyValerie DeanMary DonagheyJonathan EvensMaurizio GaliaMichael GarawayJohn GentryClorinda GoodmanLaura GrenciDeborah HarrisonDavid HawkinsAnthony HodgsonEugenia JacobsMark LewisDavid MillidgeLucy MorrishIrene NovelliJanet RobertsHenry Shelton, and Peter Webb.

‘The Last Supper’, a sculpture by David Millidge is inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci’s iconic Christian masterpiece. However, it is not about Judas or betrayal. It is about the journey of religious tolerance. The disciples in this Last Supper are all identical figures but decorated with a thin veneer of symbols and images representing different faiths (ceramic transfers).

David says: ‘If we are to continue living in a world where wars, conflicts, prejudice and persecution remain on the decline, we must continue to break down the barriers that divide us with acceptance and respect for the different faiths that we live by. My sculpture portrays an optimistic vision of a future where all ideologies sit side by side in harmony.’

The faiths represented, approximately in order of affiliated members are: Christianity, Islam, Atheism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Judaism, Taoism, Bahaism, Confucianism, Jainism, and Shintoism.

Mary Donaghey’s contribution also images a reconciliation yet to be realised. In one area of her painting, armaments are piled resembling a bonfire with monetary notes of the major countries dealing in the Arms Trade. This is ready to be used in the igniting of it all. Nearby, Israeli soldiers are welcoming displaced Palestinians into new houses, the fence being down. An Iranian prison is open, prisoners emerging. A Syrian hospital is supplying prosthetic limbs, skies clear, nails being shovelled into a hole in the ground. The offending leaders of these countries also behave with compassion towards their present victims.

Hawkins SAM_7132 (2) (1)Former Bishop of Barking, David Hawkins also addresses contemporary issues with his mixed media pieces: ‘Carrier bags have become the latest culprits in the war on pollution, with two million being purchased every minute across the globe. Back lit by the sun, they become angels of death and destruction. Our Celtic forbears saw God’s activity in the mundane of everyday life – in our century, even in carrier bags.’

The Angels of Death pictured in these images feature in Old Testament stories which foreshadow the forgiveness and reconciliation to be found in the death of Christ.

mgaraway_fridayprocessjohnSimilarly, Michael Garaway’s ‘Friday Process – Mark’ also focuses on the significance of Christ’s crucifixion coming as it does from a series of four which present in graphical form the symbolic ‘hardware’ related to Christ’s suffering and death, as described in the Gospel accounts.