Cathedrals use Art to Explore Key Messages in 2023

13th January 2023

Art in Cathedrals 2023

Visitors are being asked to share their hopes and dreams for a new art installation at Rochester, Lincoln will host its first light and sound show to celebrate Life in all its forms, Exeter and Durham are preparing to welcome the huge installation of planet Earth, Gaia and Gloucester will raise awareness of knife crime with a visit from the Knife Angel.

Cathedrals use art to explore key messages in 2023

Just some of the ways our cathedrals are raising awareness and engaging with their local communities on key issues that matter.

The Knife Angel is visiting Gloucestershire for the very first time on its National Anti-Violence Tour and will be placed outside Gloucester Cathedral this February.

The iconic anti-violence sculpture stands at 27 ft tall and will be on display in the Cathedral Green from Wednesday 1 until Tuesday 28 February when a community vigil will take place for all victims of violence.

Made from over 100,000 confiscated knives, which have been seized by 43 police forces from across the UK, the sculpture is a thought-provoking monument which aims to inspire social change, raising awareness of violence and aggressive behaviour, as well as memorialising those who have lost their lives to knife crime.

Created by sculptor Alfie Bradley in collaboration with the British Ironwork Centre, the Knife Angel has been on its anti-violence tour since 2018 forging partnerships locally to offer a programme of events and workshops.

Knife Angel Hereford Cathedral Summer 2021

Exeter Cathedral has announced it will host artist, Luke Jerram’s giant Earth sculpture, Gaia in its nave this February.

The seven-metre representation of Earth will go on display at Exeter Cathedral on February 1 and comes hot on the heels of Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon, which attracted more than 54,000 visitors when it went on display in the cathedral last year.

Gaia has been printed with accurate, high-resolution NASA imagery of Earth’s surface and is accompanied by a specially-created surround sound composition by BAFTA award-winning composer, Dan Jones to communicate a sense of the fragility of our planet.

The artist, Luke Jerram said:

“I hope visitors to Gaia get to see Earth as if from space; an incredibly beautiful and precious place. An ecosystem we urgently need to look after – our only home. Halfway through Earth’s sixth mass extinction, we urgently need to wake up and change our behaviour.”

Luke Jerram’s Gaia is on display at Exeter Cathedral from 1-27 February. There is a programme of associated events. Please check out their website for more info.

Visitors are being asked to help create a unique piece of art by writing their messages of peace on paper doves as Rochester Cathedral prepares to host Peace Doves, an artwork by artist, Peter Walker.

All the messages will be collected and become part of the art installation when it opens in the cathedral on February 11.

Peace Doves has been seen in a number of cathedrals across the UK including Liverpool, Lichfield, Derby and Sheffield – and each one has carried its own unique messages of hope and love.

The Dean of Rochester, the Very Revd Dr Philip Hesketh said:

‘In a world of constant conflict the need to work and pray for peace should be central to our lives. This artwork provides a visible expression for our hopes and dreams for a better world.’

The doves are available now for visitors to write a message of peace. Peace Doves will open on the 11th February until the 21st April 2023.

Cathedrals use art to explore key messages in 2023

Photo Credit – Peter Walker, Sculptor

Lincoln Cathedral has just announced it will host ‘Life’ by creative duo, Luxmuralis an interactive sound and light installation and is inviting visitors to see the cathedral in a new light.

It is the first time Lincoln has hosted a light and sound show and the event will transform the whole of the Cathedral floor including the nave, St Hugh’s Choir, and the transepts, transforming the interior of this historic, heritage building as never before.

The Very Revd Christine Wilson, Dean of Lincoln, said:

“This fantastic building has for centuries sat as a beacon of light across the city, so it is fitting that now we’ll be using light to tell the fascinating story of life in all its many forms.

“It will be an exciting, colourful and entertaining experience for everyone to enjoy and while it will be uplifting, it will also be a reminder that an essential part of our responsibility as Christians is to protect and maintain God’s creation and enable both the physical environment and the communities within it to flourish.

“There is an urgent call to respond, both collectively and as individuals, with faith and vigour to the ongoing challenges of the global climate crisis.

“As people spend time in the Cathedral, immersed in light and sound, we hope it will offer them the opportunity to contemplate our role in the natural world, and how we can each have a positive influence on our environment.”

Life by Luxmuralis will run from Wednesday 15 February to Saturday 18 February 2023, with timed performances per evening. Booking is essential and tickets are still available from the Cathedral’s website –

Durham Cathedral too will be exploring the climate emergency when they host Luke Jerram’s Gaia this summer and the cathedral is currently advertising for a
Creative Programming professional to work with its existing team to support the creation and delivery of a programme of complementary activities to run alongside the exhibition.

The Cathedral will host Luke Jerram’s Gaia from 10th July until 10th September 2023 – part of Durham’s theme of Climate Change and Climate Justice.

Find out more about the opportunity – application deadline is Friday 20th January.