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/ 13 June 2013

Chaim Stephenson Exhibition

Subjects ranged from many Biblical stories to ones depicting moments in our recent past; the flight of families from Bosnia and the piece commissioned by St Martin-in-the-Fields, Homage to Soweto, a memorial to those who suffered during the Apartheid regime in South Africa.

The exhibition, at St Mary’s Sunbury-on-Thames, featured sculptures by acclaimed artist Chaim Stephenson.

Chaim considers The Burning Bush one of his most important pieces, which he sees as a symbol of the Jewish people who have suffered endless persecution, climaxing in the Holocaust. Like the Burning Bush, they, “burned and burned yet were not consumed.”

The sculptures express strong human feelings without being sentimental. Complemented by liturgical dance and the purity of the solo voice of Becky Reesor singing Hebrew songs they certainly evoked powerful emotions in the viewer.

The exhibition was the centre piece of a community project involving seven local schools. Apart from studying the sculptures and making sketches the pupils were able to question the artist about the inspiration and stories behind them and Fr Paul Davies talked about the Biblical stories and the significance of the sculptures in a place of worship. The sculptures were also positioned amongst the worshipers and shaped the text of the sermon at Sunday services.

Fr Paul Davies, Vicar of St Mary’s, said:

“I hope it helped students, visitors and the congregation to look at the church in a new and creative way.”

This was written by Fran Chandler.

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