CALL TO HOLY GROUND Commissioned by Art and Christianity
photographs by Nikki McClarron and Ale Tarraf
Call to Holy Ground, is an exploration of nature, sanctuary and belief echoing the concept of trinity found in both Christianity and Hinduism, comprising installations in a church and temple, a sound pilgrimage through the fringes of Epping Forest, and an online video work. Call to Holy Ground is a call to create a new scripture of the earth between faiths, generations and across cultures, an alternative ‘common ground’ or collective field of trust, sanctuary in nature and hope for a sustainable future.
Commissioned by Art + Christianity, Call to Holy Ground is made in collaboration with women elders from the communities of St Andrew’s Church and Shri Nathji Sanatan Hindu temple in Leytonstone in north-east London. Call to Holy Ground opens on 14 January, on Makara Sankranti, a festival dedicated to the deity Surya celebrating harvest time in India and Nepal, and closes just before Palm Sunday on 26 March.
Situated in a side chapel of St Andrew’s Church, the area in churches usually reserved for holy relics, hangs a large-scale installation, a cloak-like sculptural cosmology in three parts made from fabric, hide, oak, wax, mirrors, scrolls and seeds. Referencing the elemental connections between faith and nature and given a formal blessing, the piece contains offerings of intention in English and Sanskrit, from fragments of conversation and story from the community of elders. In the Shri Nathji Sanatan Hindu temple, an installation in the form of a portable shrine comprises clay and glass vessels containing water from the rivers Ganges and Lea, inspired by ceremonial water offerings. Like the Ganges, the nearby river Lea also has ancient mythical associations linked with Celtic deity worship.
Connecting church and temple, across an outlying fragment of Epping Forest, visitors are invited to participate in an immersive sound ‘pilgrimage’ whilst walking through the woods between the two sites, each footstep creating a new holy ground. The piece weaves a collective sacred experience as a meditative action spoken by the artists, alongside echoes of stories, chants, songs, poems collected from the elders.
Online video work for Call to Holy Ground presents a performance of ritualistic gestures filmed in Epping Forest, and elemental expressions such as waterfalls, stone gateways and fire. The work becomes a bridge between faiths, generations, spiritual and ecological practices and bringing together the processes of ‘forming the new scripture’ and the importance of the everyday sacred act, and its role in a larger constellation of acts. The video is a pilgrimage through the elements, with elders and artists, exploring the sacred essence, and the connection with the inner landscape.
Art and Christianity is the UK's leading organisation in the field of art and faith. Their projects encourage and support high quality contemporary art in churches, demonstrate best practice in commissioning and installing art in churches, and foster links between visual artists and churches. Past projects include installations at St Paul’s Cathedral and numerous parish churches, and feature artists such as Yoko Ono and Rebecca Horn.
Call to Holy Ground is made with support from Tara Khare of Shri Nathji Sanatan Hindu temple and Fr Paul Kennington of St Andrew’s Church. Holy Ground is an interfaith art project commissioned by Art + Christianity that develops relationships established with churches and artists in the London Borough of Walthamstow Year of Culture in 2019.
For images, interview requests and further information, please email Janette Scott on email@example.com, or call 07966 486156.
Call to Holy Ground, 14 January 2020 – 26 March 2021.
Free admission. www.artandchristianity.org
St Andrew’s Church, 153 Colworth Rd, Leytonstone, London E11 1JD.
Call to Holy Ground opening hours: Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays & Sundays 11am - 3pm. Sunday service is from 10:00am.
Shri Nathji Sanatan Hindu, 159-161 Whipps Cross Rd, Leytonstone, London E11 1NP
Call to Holy Ground opening hours: Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays & Sundays 11am - 3pm.
Call to Holy Ground sound walk, download from www.artandchristianity.org from 14 January.
Call to Holy Ground video, available at www.artandchristianity.org
Events for Call to Holy Ground
Artists talk discussing Call to Holy Ground
17 December, 7:00pm, via Zoom. Tickets: £5.00
Fourthland have been working with women elders from Christian and Hindu congregations in Leytonstone, east London for the past six months to create Call to Holy Ground. In this special event, they share their experiences of acting in an intermediary role between two faiths, as well as finding creative new ways of working within the restrictions of the Covid 19 pandemic.
To book tickets please go to:
Additional support from Prince of Wales Charitable Foundation, The Lady Peel Trust and The Morel Trust.
TO READ MORE ABOUT THIS PROJECT, VISIT HERE