Visitors Invited to Help Create Peace Doves

14th March 2024

Visitors, schoolchildren and local organisations have been invited to leave their messages of hope and peace to become part of the art installation Peace Doves when it comes to two of our cathedrals this year.

Visitors invited to share their hopes and dreams: PEACE DOVES comes to Wells and Durham Cathedrals.

Peace Doves, a large-scale mass-participation artwork created by artist Peter Walker, features around 15,000 paper doves suspended on ribbons from the Nave ceiling. The installation is then lit in different colours and accompanied by a soundscape by composer David Harper.

The paper doves are decorated with messages of peace, hope and love – many of which will be created by members of the local community, schoolchildren, parishes across the diocese, local businesses and organisations.

Peace Doves opens in Wells Cathedral on 26 April and in Durham Cathedral on 26 July.

Those wanting to be part of the artwork can find dove templates inside the cathedrals on which to write their messages of hope and peace ahead of the opening dates.

A programme of events will accompany both installations in the cathedrals including special worship, late-night openings, and family activities.

The Acting Dean of Wells, the Revd Canon Anne Gell, said:

“Wells Cathedral is here to be a beacon of hope and light and we offer this space and this artwork to enable a sense of serenity and peace as people enjoy the Peace Doves and reflect upon the messages that make each installation unique to those who took part.”

Andrew Usher, Chief Officer: Visitor Experience and Enterprise at Durham Cathedral, said:

“We’re delighted to be showcasing the Peace Doves installation this summer and we’re aware that it will take a long time to handcraft the amount of doves needed. So we’re now asking for the help of visitors, schools and local communities and inviting everyone to come and create one of the 15,000 doves that make up this meaningful installation.

“As a mass-participation artwork it’s a unique opportunity for people to be involved in creating something truly special.”

The Very Revd Dr Philip Plyming, Dean of Durham said:

“Jesus said ‘blessed are the peacemakers’ and certainly in our world today peace is needed more than ever.

“The Peace Doves installation represents a chance for people of all faiths and backgrounds to come into this historic house of prayer and offer their own different voices, wishes and prayers in the cause of peace.

“I am looking forward to welcoming people from across our communities to Durham Cathedral to be part of this remarkable artwork and offering to God.”

Peace Doves was first staged at Lichfield Cathedral in 2018 when it was designed to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War. It has also been seen at several other Church of England cathedrals including Liverpool, Derby, Rochester, Sheffield, Chichester and St Albans.

Artist Peter Walker said:

“I am delighted to bring Peace Doves to Wells and Durham cathedrals. Previous installations have been very well received and have created a prideful sense of community and togetherness.

“Sometimes, art can transcend just being an object and become the focus of our collective sentiments. That is the purpose of Peace Doves, which allows thousands of people to create, and express their own personal emotions as part of an ensemble which produces a beautiful final composition, and a series of smaller community works.”

Image Credit : Peter Walker Sculptor Peace Doves