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come to know: A Little Lower

3rd November - 2nd December 2022



Come to Know is a series of art interventions in the atrium at St Peter’s Harrogate. The project title is taken from the words of St Peter when he says of Christ ‘we have believed and come to know that you are the holy one of God’. The aim of the project is to offer visitors and guests the opportunity to ponder meaning and faith through the visual.


In this third intervention we worked with three artists: Leon Varga, Shirley Hudson and Shaeron Caton Rose, each having created artworks around the theme of angels.


An angel meets a girl. A life is changed forever. The rest is known as the Nativity. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we do not feel in control of our lives. Events take over; we are forced to reappraise our careers, our ambitions, even our reasons for living. Covid emphasised this experience for many of us. So how much of our lives are we actually able to control and how much is merely up to fate? How do design and destiny line up?


In the Bible we are told that we are a little lower than the angels. In an attempt to escape, and to find adventure, Icarus flew too near the sun and fell to earth. How do we take risks and how do we find faith along our way? What happens when we fall? The story of the Nativity reminds us of how precarious faith can be and yet how it overcomes even the most challenging circumstances. Mary and Joseph end up fleeing for their lives as refugees when Herod culls all Jewish baby boys, the wise men make a huge journey with uncertain outcomes, God becomes human.


The artist Leon Varga talks about transience and uncertainty in his piece Grey Dove, three metallic sculptures that appear to be angels carrying backpacks. He says “created from metal sheets of industrial waste material, Grey Dove representing the exact cumulative weight of all the individual’s possession. They are expressing both the potential and the burgeoning weight of our existence.” The pull between being grounded or over whelmed by everyday life and the soaring of our souls towards hope and faith perhaps.


Salutation by Shaeron Caton Rose is two video works originally shown at Wallspace London in 2009 based on the story of the Annunciation. In these films, golden feathers float and are blown on the air, and a feather is buffeted by wind but remains stoically anchored in place. Go with the flow or fight? Fate or faith?


Shirley Hudson’s Angel paintings based on local angelic tombstones remind us of our fragility and mortality but also appear strong and resilient, a testament to hope sometimes against all odds. The last few years have been a huge challenge to all of us and the year to come promises further concerns. But this may be just the right time to take that risk of finding faith in each other, in our human spirit and in the divine.


Accompanying events:

22nd November Reflect and Create with Leeds Sanctuary, an opportunity to participate in thinking about the themes of this exhibition and make a prayer flag, as well as take part in creating a further installation piece on site. free but please book at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/reflect-and-create-tickets-429574066597

4th December 9.30 and 11.30 church services Shaeron Caton Rose will be giving a sermon around the themes represented in this show.



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