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Leaves Of The Trees exhibition by sculptor Peter Walker, inspired by coronavirus pandemic, coming to Southwell Minster from May

A timely exhibition by an internationally-acclaimed sculptor is coming to Southwell Minster later this year.

The Leaves Of The Trees, billed as a reflective memorial to the effects of coronavirus, can be seen at the minster from May 10 to June 6, restrictions permitting.

The installation, by Peter Walker, comprise 5,000 5ins leaves, each cut from 1mm mild steel, chosen as the material for the leaves to remind us of our resilience and collective strength.

The Leaves of The Trees exhibition at Southwell Minster. Photo: Mark Pickthall(44374689)
The Leaves of The Trees exhibition at Southwell Minster. Photo: Mark Pickthall(44374689)

The leaves will slowly change from steel to rusted tones as the leaves gradually change colour over the period of the tour, just as the leaves of trees do when they fall each year.

Each leaf, individually carved with the word hope, will be laid out on the floor, creating a beautiful cascading impression of autumn leaves fallen from the trees, appearing as though naturally scattered by the wind.

The leaves symbolise the past and what has transpired, as we hope for a better future.

The Leaves of The Trees exhibition at Southwell Minster. (44374691)
The Leaves of The Trees exhibition at Southwell Minster. (44374691)

The Dean of Southwell, The Very Rev Nicola Sullivan, said: “We have all been affected by the terrible impact of the pandemic.

“We have had so few ways to grieve and Peter Walker’s simple but powerful installation will help us find healing and hope amidst our tears and loss.

“This is for everyone, whatever age or faith, and we invite everyone to come to their cathedral for moments of quiet reflection.”

The minster display, part-funded by Newark and Sherwood District Council, is designed to link directly to the sentiments of those who have experienced the pandemic, both those who have lost loved ones or have been personally affected.

It comes to Southwell after spells in Exeter, Sheffield and Lichfield cathedrals in the latter half of 2020.

Sculptor Peter Walker said: “Over the past 12 months we have collectively seen many of the things we take for granted, moved out of reach, and confronted by challenges, personal, national and international which have not been experienced for generations.

“Yet despite this, and despite the hardships, loss and difficulties, there has been hope.

“Hope exposed as glimpses of individual endeavour, kindness and service, hope as revealed by nature and the joy that it brings and hope which human ingenuity and resolve has revealed.

“The Leaves Of The Trees installation is designed to provide an opportunity to take a moment out of our lives and to reflect on our individual and collective experience and to allow us to recall that there is hope, in its many manifestations, which is ever more visible to us through kindness, faith, science and family.”

Richard Huthwaite, business manager for tourism at Newark and Sherwood District Council said the minster was the perfect setting for such a beautiful and contemplative creation.

"In these most challenging of times, the memorial will give people a valuable opportunity to both honour those lost to the pandemic and look forward with a sense of togetherness and hope," he said.

"We would like to congratulate everyone involved in bringing this highly respected work to Southwell.”

Peter is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and member of the Royal Society of British Sculptors.

Producing sculptures, paintings, drawings, installation pieces, and Son-et-Lumiere for large scale public art events, his extensive creative ability has led him to produce many bronze public statues permanently located around the country and have works in private and public collections worldwide.

Peter is the artistic director as well as resident artist at Lichfield Cathedral and consults with other UK cathedrals on visionary artistic programmes that he creates specifically for them.

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