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Art installation provokes pandemic reflection at Southwell Minster

Posted onPosted on 8th May

An artwork installation at Southwell Minster from Monday, 10th May until 6th June is serving as a reflective memorial to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Leaves of the Trees, by internationally-acclaimed sculptor Peter Walker, has been partially funded by Newark and Sherwood District Council as part of its UK tour.

Coun David Lloyd, leader of the council, said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to play a part in bringing this important work to the district and to such an appropriately contemplative and beautiful setting as Southwell Minster.

This installation will give our community, and particularly individuals who’ve lost loved ones and been personally affected by Covid-19, a vital focal point for reflection on all that has happened over the past year and, hopefully, inspire us to look forward too.”

The Leaves of the Trees is comprised of 5,000 five-inch leaves, each cut from 1mm mild steel, which was chosen as the material to remind us of our resilience and collective strength. The leaves will slowly change from steel to rusted tones over the course of the tour, just as the leaves of trees do when they fall each year.

Each leaf, individually carved with the word HOPE, has been 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 all that has transpired, as we hope for a better future.

The Very Rev Nicola Sullivan, Dean of Southwell, 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.”

Peter Walker, the sculptor and man behind The Leaves of the Trees, said: “The 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.”