“Having grown up in the area, and working predominantly in the rest of the UK and in Europe, it is always enjoyable and satisfying to be able to create work in the community in which I grew up. Since 2005 I have been developing artwork in the area as part of wide reaching public art projects within the community. Therefore the development of the St Chad statue and residency with Lichfield Cathedral, offers great opportunity to further develop this work.” – Peter Walker, 2015
Peter Walker is the Cathedral’s Artist in Residence. He is orginally from Lichfield, and is an internationally renowned sculptor and artist. 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, as well as Son-et-Lumiere, his extensive creative ability has led him to produce over 15 public statues located around the country and have works in private and public collections worldwide.
Locally, Peter has founded Lichfield City’s very first Sculpture Trail as part of the ‘A City as Sculpture’ Project TM. He is artistic director for The Sculpture and Art Foundation C.I.C and since 2005 has worked extensively with members of the local community to develop the visual arts and allow opportunity and access to the arts.
Peter now shares his creative artwork and experience with visitors to Lichfield Cathedral and the local community to enable participation in the arts and in the creation and development of projects – including the creation of the statue of Saint Chad.
You can read about some of Peter’s latest projects, below.
You can read about some of Peter’s latest projects, below.
Lichfield Cathedral Artist in Residence Peter Walker latest Art Installation ‘Before Action’ was a commemoration for the Somme. It brought approximately 3,000 visitors to the Cathedral to partake freely in a sensory experience of Light, music, art and poetry enabling reflection and contemplation of the lives that were lost in the battle of the Somme during WW1.
The art installation took people on a personal journey; participants were encouraged to take an individual exploration beginning physically with a recreated soldier’s home in Edwardian England set up in the entrance and following the installation through a field of projected poppies into a symbolic installation depicting the trenches at the heart of war. People were seeing the Cathedral in a new light, and people who had never even been to the Cathedral before came through the door to witness the visual display and honour the fallen.
The Oscar Winning actor Eddie Redmayne gave his time and visited Lichfield Cathedral to record four war poems for the event, his film was played amongst light and sound projection art work that symbolised the war poet’s words. As the poetry was spoken the imagery lit the Lady Chapel in a mesmerising and poignant way that led viewers to complete silence and contemplation.
The readings by Eddie Redmayne also encouraged a mass participation globally as people were asked to download their own personal readings of war poems that were also shown at the event. Readings from people as far as Hungary, USA, Germany, Italy, and Vietnam as well as around the UK were all sent in via Twitter and Facebook to #Before Action. The Archbishop of Canterbury also participated in reading Before Action for this event and through his actions encouraged many more to also contribute.
Within the Installation people were able to reflect and give their thoughts and prayers to their loved ones by writing on a single paper leaf that was then attached to a static larger artwork, thousands of leaves were collected and made a beautiful tribute that stood next to the names of all the Staffordshire regiment that lost their lives at the Somme. The names which were projected took up a film that showed a list which would take fifty minutes from beginning to end to read, just with Staffordshire regiment soldier’s names, putting into perspective the great impact that the war had.
People from all generations attended the installation over three nights, contributing through reciting a poem, playing the piano, knitting a soldiers scarf, writing a prayer on a leaf. Reactions and responses were overwhelming as people expressed how moved they were by the whole experience. Here are just a few of the hundreds of responses collected after the event:
“It was a thought provoking & atmospheric event, especially at midnight with the sounding of the last post. It was also fantastic to see so many people who wanted to attend – well done Lichfield”
“An extremely moving, fitting tribute to the fallen of the Somme. Well done to all involved.”
“it was a very memorable event – a great tribute to a lost generation.”
“Awesome event! Thanks to all the volunteers, memorable and inspiring “
‘The Second Day’ -Lichfield Festival Light Show
On Saturday 2nd July, we celebrated Lichfield Festival’s opening weekend with a light projection show, blending period film footage with the latest digital techniques. Luxmaralis (Peter Walker and composer David Harper) presented the light installation on the concept of ‘The Somme’, and provided a contemporary and moving response to this pivotal moment in the history of WW1. Thousands of visitors filled The Close on Saturday evening to watch this moving dedication to those who fell at The Battle of The Somme.
Oscar-winning Actor Eddie Redmayne teams up with the Cathedral
Lichfield Cathedral is teaming up with Oscar-winning actor, Eddie Redmayne, to work on a
special project this summer, in commemoration of the Battle of the Somme.
Eddie Redmayne OBE is a critically acclaimed actor best known for his roles in films such as ‘Les Miserables’, ‘The Danish Girl’, and ‘The Theory of Everything’, for which he won the Academy, BAFTA, Golden Globe and SAG Award for Best Actor.
The Cathedral’s Artist in Residence, Peter Walker, has been working closely with the star to bring Lichfield a unique exhibition which will take place from 4th-6th August, to commemorate the Battle of the Somme. This commemoration will transform the inside of the Cathedral into a thought-provoking, emotive and poignant landscape, symbolising the journey taken by soldiers to the front, using the words of war poets, visual arts, light and sound.
Eddie visited the Cathedral earlier this week to record a selection of well-known war poetry, which will form part of the exhibition. Visitors will be able to visit the Cathedral during the commemoration to see this incredibly moving piece performed by the exceptionally talented actor.
Part of the exhibition will also involve stunning light projections by Peter Walker, and beautifully composed music by David Harper, who together collaborate under the name ‘Luxmuralis’.
Peter Walker says: “Eddie has created a series of four remarkably moving recitations of war poems for the installation this summer. He was very generous in donating his time, and his support of the Artist in Residence program has been wonderful. We hope everyone will come along and enjoy these recordings in August.”
Jason Dyer, Development Director at Lichfield Cathedral, adds: ’Within the Cathedral there are Books of Remembrance that record all those who sacrificed their lives from our region in the Great War. We hope this very special commemoration event for the Battle of the Somme will provide a poignant, respectful and moving way in which all visitors can remember those who lost their lives during this tragic time.”
More information about the commemoration will be available soon.
Lichfield Cathedral Exhibition heads to Germany
Peter Walker has returned from Lichfield’s twinned city Limburg an der Lahn having taken artworks over for an exhibition in the historic town hall in Germany.
Over 70 Sculptures, paintings and drawings from ‘A City as Sculpture’ exhibition, which were seen in Lichfield last summer adorning the Cathedral and it’s grounds, were transported and exhibited for five weeks in the Kunstslammungen der stadt Limburg.
The exhibition was entitled ‘Orchestration of Line and Form’. With a great welcome from the twinned city, fantastic reception and opening by the town mayor, thanks and tributes were made acknowledging the cultural links made by the artist in his aim to bring art and culture from both twinned cities together.
Peter Walker was the first ever English artist to be exhibited in the Central museum and gallery.
Amongst the artwork a depiction of Lichfield Cathedral at night was hung for all to admire and to see the similarities of the twinned Cities.
During the visit, part of the project included outreach to working with local schools and young trainees who attended a guided tour around the exhibition and attended workshops held by the artist to learn about art, culture and to make creations, self-portraits and digital artworks themselves with the artist.
It was the first time the historic museum had young people attend an exhibition in such numbers and carry out workshops in the venue with an artist.
A Cathedral Illuminated
In December 2015, the city of Lichfield was treated to ‘A Cathedral Illuminated’, a stunning display of festive projections on the west front of the Cathedral.
Peter Walker created the projections alongside composer David Harper, who has created original music for the show. They collaborate under the name Luxmaralis.
The event helped to make the festive spirit come alive in Lichfield, and was attended by over 4,000 people over two nights.
To find out more about Peter Walker, please click here.
A City As Sculpture
In summer 2015, Peter produced a new exhibition, ‘A City as Sculpture’, which from August – October in the Cathedral and its grounds.
The exhibition featured eight artworks on display in The Close, and over fifty other artworks in the Cathedral itself.
“I am delighted to exhibit a collection of my work during the summer at the start of my residency with the Cathedral. The exhibition and residency are all about developing a series of such events, workshops and talks, all related to the visual arts during the development of the St Chad statue. Publicly accessible art is something that I’m passionate about. Art which people can interact with, which offers something new or which develops opportunities for participation and developing access, is key to the five year programme”.
– Peter Walker, 2015
The exhibition was linked to the ‘Through the Artist’s Eye’ exhibition which was held at the Emporium Gallery.
Lichfield Sculpture Project
In 2015 Peter launched two new visual arts project in the Cathedral: The Lichfield City Sculpture Trail and the St Chad Project.
The Lichfield City Sculpture Trail is part of a Lichfield and District based project, and is the first sculpture trail for Lichfield, helping to highlight the many artistic treasures the city has to offer. The trail is part of the “City of Sculpture Project”, which has been developed over ten years, led by talented sculptor Peter Walker, and aims to increase participation, access and understanding of visual arts.
Artworks on the trail include ‘Sleeping Children’ within the Cathedral, ‘Captain Smith’ in Beacon Park Museum Gardens, ‘Dr Johnson Mosaic’ on Bird Street, ‘The Reading Girl’ on St John’s Road, ‘Samuel Johnson Monument’ in Market Square, and ‘The Formation of Poetry’ on Tamworth Road. The trail can be completed in approximately 2 hours, or visitors can choose to explore smaller sections of the city. It can also be completed using smartphones and tablets.
Mr Rob Carr, member of the project team, says: “The trail is the first part of a multi-layered arts initiative in the area. This is the first of many new exciting artist-led projects we are developing, which will help people view Lichfield and the district in a new way, through artists’ eyes.”
In addition to the City Sculpture Trail, we also celebrated the launch of the St Chad Statue project. Peter Walker has been commissioned to design and create a major new artwork for the historic landmark, which will take the form of a 3m bronze representation of St Chad. The launch gave visitors an opportunity to see a model of his 3m bronze statue, as well as a series of design sketches. The St Chad statue will be a new feature in the Cathedral grounds in the next two years.
Sculptor, Mr Peter Walker says: “It’s a great privilege to be working to create a statue of such an important figure in the heritage if the area. For me, making public art is about involving the community in seeing the work through the stages of its development, therefore it’s wonderful that we have unveiled the maquette, a model of the final statue.”
More information on the Lichfield City Sculpture Trail can be found here.