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Artist's double display at Southwell Minster starting point for UK cathedral tour




More than 3,000 visitors attended the Threads Through Revelation exhibition by textile artist Jacqui Parkinson at Southwell Minster last year.

Now she is back with a new show for autumn, featuring two displays in one, called Tree of Life and Open Heaven.

The exhibition began last week and continues until December 1.

It is a first for the minster as it is the starting point for a UK cathedral tour.

The Tree of Life consists of three huge stitched panels on a subject that runs through the bible.

“Many of us remember the story of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in Genesis at the start of the Bible, when Adam and Eve bit into a piece of forbidden fruit,” Jacqui said.

Artist Jacqui Parkinson with part of Tree of Life (19278357)
Artist Jacqui Parkinson with part of Tree of Life (19278357)

"But there was another tree in the Garden of Eden ­— the Tree of Life ­— and it is found again at the very end of the Bible in a great promise of a new heaven and a new earth.”

Jacqui has reimagined the cross as the Tree of Life where Jesus dies to offer life, so she depicts the story of the tree in three key scenes, beautifully and dramatically, though astonishing stitching.

“One of the aims of my work is to show the message of Jesus in a visual language, to bring us into a physical space that makes the message present and almost tangible.

"I hope these two pieces confront and engage the viewers ­— and that they can also simply enjoy looking.”

Open Heaven is very different but again very dramatic and thought-provoking.

“It’s an installation, a kind of sculpture and a visual statement," Jacqui said.

“It is based on a huge rope ladder that reaches from the floor of the Minster to the heights of the roof representing the connection between earth to heaven and between us and God.

"And low down on the rope ladder visitors stand face to face with a life-size figure ­— a cast of a real young man in his thirties.

"Here is Jesus, hanging on the ladder, reaching out to everyone.Jesus: the one who totally connects earth to heaven and the Father to men and women.

“I’m so pleased to be back at Southwell, showing this exhibition for the very first time. When we put on Threads Through Revelation last year, so many people at the Minster were wonderfully supportive and enthusiastic. I do hope this new display will delight and touch people as deeply."

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