Summer Exhibitions of Hope and Resilience

22nd June 2021

Summer 2021 exhibitions of Hope and Resilience taking place at Exeter, Portsmouth and Worcester Cathedrals. What will you discover?

Art in cathedrals: Hope and renewal in the time of Covid

74 sculptures, 24 artists: Exeter Cathedral is hosting Destiny and Light, an exhibition by the South West Sculptors to reflect hope, resilience and new beginnings this summer.

The exhibition had been planned for 2020 with sculptor, Martin Staniforth back in 2017 following his sculptural response to the fire which destroyed the Royal Clarence on Exeter Cathedral Green in October 2016. Martin salvaged over a ton of the burnt wood and created Hope and Renewal which was displayed outside the cathedral’s West Front before going on tour in Devon.

Exeter Cathedral Summer Exhibition

Photo credit Jim Wileman

Now the Devon based artist has reused those timbers to once again reflect that an ending can be a beginning with a new piece sited outside the Cathedral plus he has created four other huge sculptures inside the Cathedral.

The sculptures are all part of this exhibition which features 24 artists displaying work inside and outside the Cathedral, a contemporary dance event, creative wellbeing workshops and a community-crafted ‘Tree of Hope’ sculpture for visitors to contribute to a community sculpture by writing memories of the past and hopes for the future onto paper leaves.

The Canon Treasurer at Exeter Cathedral, the Revd Canon Dr Mike Williams said:

“The power of art to speak to us at important moments in our lives should never be underestimated as we emerge from severe restrictions and the impacts on normal life.

“The builders of this Cathedral recognised that in creating something to the glory of God, we might all experience the beauty and wonder of artisanship and art. We hope that visitors will be captivated and inspired by what they see and experience today.”

South West Sculptors was set up in 2000 and is an inclusive collective of artists, aiming to collaborate and promote their passion for the 3D form.

A spokesperson for the artists said:

“Exeter Cathedral is an environment rich in its accumulation of sculpture over past decades. Even before we install our work, the theme of Density & Lightness is already present in carved tombstones, eagles on lecterns and the soaring stone structure of the Cathedral itself.”

Density and Lightness, an exhibition by South West Sculptors at Exeter Cathedral Friday 13 June to Monday 30 August. Tickets £5 or included in Exeter Cathedral entrance fee.

Portsmouth Cathedral is hosting the annual summer exhibition of Portsmouth and Hampshire Art Society – who will proudly showcase their works at Portsmouth Cathedral after a year of being unable to exhibit their art.

The annual summer exhibition is set to take place from Sunday, August 1, to Wednesday, August 11, from 9am to 5pm, with a private preview planned on Saturday, July 31.

Chairman Alan Cottrell said:

‘The committee and I are looking forward to presenting a varied and exciting range of work this year having not been able to mount our usual exhibition last year.

Worcester Cathedral is hosting ‘Young Voices New Visions’ an annual exhibition showcasing the artistic talent of young people from across Worcestershire, displayed in the medieval cloister.

Summer Exhibition at Worcester Cathedral

The artwork presented has been created by local schools, individuals and community groups responding to the 2021 theme ‘Gratitude’ and will run from 26 June to 11 July.

  • The exhibition has been curated by Richard Webb, Bobbie Whittaker and Steve Thomas and is organised by Severn Arts, this year working in partnership with Meadow Arts and with the support of the Arts Society Worcester.
  • It will be open to visitors during normal Cathedral opening times, 10am-5pm Monday-Saturday (last entry 4.30pm) and 1pm-3pm on Sundays (last entry 2.30pm).

Admission is free, and donations are appreciated.

Worcester Cathedral is the latest cathedral to host The Leaves of the Trees – an art installation of 5,000 steel leaves, each individually carved with the word HOPE that will be laid out on the floor of the nave creating an impression of autumn leaves fallen from the trees.

This poignant art installation was created by artist, Peter Walker as a reflective work for people to contemplate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on their lives and the lives of their family, friends and communities and has already been seen at Exeter, Sheffield, Lichfield and Southwell cathedrals and is expected to tour more later this year.

From 5 August to 31 August, more information can be found here.