Reflecting on the Pandemic at Lichfield Cathedral

Published on: Thu, 08/10/2020 - 10:11

 Reflecting on the Pandemic at Lichfield Cathedral

As a nation we are still feeling the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on our lives. A new artwork allowing people to reflect on their personal experiences is coming to Lichfield Cathedral.

Lichfield Cathedral is one of a number of venues across the country hosting an installation ‘The Leaves of the Trees’ by Peter Walker, Sculptor. The art installation, made up of 5000 steel leaves each with the word HOPE written on them, has been designed to honour those who have died during the pandemic and to allow everyone to reflect on their experiences during these difficult times.

“The pandemic has affected every facet of life and since the start of the lockdown in March we’ve experienced new stresses and challenges. This large-scale work by Peter Walker, our Artist in residence, matches the mood with the moment. Autumn sees leaf-fall, shorter, cooler days and the approach of winter darkness. There’s an inevitable melancholy about the season, under-scored in 2020 by the losses, sadness and disruption of the crisis. Yet we house the installation in holy space that testifies always to hope. We offer this exhibition as an opportunity to think, pray, reflect and figure out the nature of our hope”, explains the Very Revd Adrian Dorber, Dean of Lichfield.

All 5000 steel leaves will appear as if naturally scattered by the wind on the floor of the beautiful and ancient Cathedral, symbolising the past but also hope for the future. The shape of the leaf is that of a sycamore maple which traditionally symbolises strength, protection, eternity and clarity.

“Steel has been chosen as the material for the leaves, to remind us of our resilience and collective strength. As the artwork tours around the country the steel will age, rust and change colour, just as the leaves of trees do when they fall each year. However in nature fallen leaves are essential to prepare the planet for spring and new growth. It is hoped that the simplicity and beauty of the installation will give people the chance to pause and contemplate on their own experience and also the wider situation that we find ourselves in,” states Peter Walker, Sculptor.

‘The Leaves of the Trees’ has been seen in Exeter and Sheffield and after Lichfield will be touring in locations across the UK including Rochester. Visitors to Lichfield Cathedral can view the installation from 31 October – 25 November 2020 during usual daytime opening hours. Visitors will also be given the opportunity to write down their own thoughts, reflections and prayers on a paper leaf. From 3-8 November the installation will feature prominently in the Poppy Fields 2020 light and sound show. For more information and to purchase tickets for Poppy Fields 2020 visit Lichfield Cathedral’s website: www.lichfield-cathedral.org

The project is supported by the Guild of Health and St Raphael.