The artwork is presented in the Cathedral to mark the period of Advent and Christmas and depicts a unique presentation of the Nativity story for 2020. Created by Visual Arts Advisor and Curator Jacquiline Creswell, and Artist and Photographer Ash Mills, it is an immersive photographic installation sharing the familiar story of the Nativity in the style of a renaissance tableau.
Characters in the scene have been drawn from local organisations, charities and medical services and paired symbolically to the roles within the Nativity, with angels acting as guardians of health and wellbeing; shepherds as providers of food and resources; the Magi as people who have learned from experience and are now leaders of their community. Each participant was photographed individually, before being edited into the composite image. Participating organisations include: BBC Radio Sussex, the Bell Tower Drop-In, Chichester District Foodbank, Chichester Festival Theatre, Heart, Sanctuary in Chichester, Stagecoach, Stonepillow, Wellington Grange and Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
The photographic artwork is printed onto sheer voile banners and hung principally above the Cathedral’s historic Arundel Screen, leading into the Nave and Baptistry. In the arches on either side of the Arundel Screen we see a traditional scene of Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus surrounded by shepherds; the arch on the opposite side of the Screen is filled with scenes and characters in the story. One large banner is located above the Arundel Screen, with characters in the story pointing to the new born child. The Star of Bethlehem is represented with an image of the recent Neowise comet which visited close by the earth during lockdown and the artwork also incorporates part of Chichester’s 540 year old Market Cross.
The artwork will remain in the Cathedral until 3rd February. Visit the Cathedral website for details and updates on opening times, and guidance for visiting safely in response to guidance issued by Public Health England, and specific guidance for places of worship from the Church of England.
Image: Ash Mills