Bishop of London presides over blessing of new statue ‘The Black Madonna & Child of Covid Lockdown’
On Saturday 4th February, the Bishop of London, Dame Sarah Mullally MBE alongside Rosemarie Mallett, Bishop of Croydon, visited St Mary with All Souls Kilburn to unveil a powerful new sculpture, The Black Madonna and Child of COVID-19, ‘our Lady of Kilburn,’ by renowned artist Kate Egawa. The service, taken by Fr Robert Thompson, Vicar of St Mary’s, explored race, artistry, and why representation matters.
The piece, depicting Mary and Jesus, is a thought provoking and moving depiction of black womanhood, motherhood, care and divinity, and a testament to the resolve of the congregation’s Global Majority Heritage/United Kingdom Minority Ethnic women (GMH/UKME) throughout the pandemic.
Bishop Sarah commented:
“It was a privilege to preside over the blessing of such a unique and poignant sculpture at St Mary’s. Throughout the pandemic, it was clear that so many of those looking after us on the front line were from minority communities, and were disproportionately affected by the virus. They put the needs of others above their own, selflessly setting aside their own safety to care and provide for some of the most vulnerable people in society.
“’The Black Madonna & Child of Covid Lockdown’ is a glaring reminder of the sacrifices made over the pandemic, and a fitting tribute to those who kept the country moving when the rest of the world had ground to a halt.”
Fr Robert added:
“The entire project came out of our experience as a community in lockdown. At St Mary’s, we are just about Black majority, with the vast majority, being female. I was really aware how there were racial and gender differences in the effects Covid had.
“Many of our working-age female GMH/UKME people work in health and social care or retail and none of them were furloughed or able to work from home, but kept going into work, at some risk to themselves, in order that our communities as a whole could continue to function with some level of normalcy, care and compassion. And, of course, the work that is parenting was also more challenging for many of these people in our community, too, as schools were closed and children needed to be home-schooled.
“During this period too we had the George Floyd murder and the publication of Azariah France -William’s Ghost Ship about racism in the church. It was really these three things coming together that made the project flower in my head.”
The diocesan communications team provides support to the network of clergy, churches, parishes and other worshipping communities that comprises the Diocese of London, as well as to the staff teams of the London Diocesan Fund.
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