'Hope Glimmers' art installation opens at Edinburgh church

A new art installation which embraces the themes of "hope and renewal" as COVID-19 lockdown restrictions continue to ease has opened at an Edinburgh church.

"Hope Glimmers" is comprised of 126, eight-foot high bamboo canes, each wrapped with a band of imitation gold leaf, which have been planted in two fan shapes in the garden at Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church.

Hope Glimmers
Hope Glimmers is a visual meditation which draws on themes of hope and renewal

The gradually increased spacing of the canes hints at the experience of moving on from the tight constraints of lockdown towards the wider possibilities of the ‘new normal'.

Gold leaf has been used throughout art history as a symbol of God's presence and is intended to catch the light and the eye of people walking past the church building.

Created by visual artists Gardner & Gardner, the work is comprised of two sections of canes - one orientated towards the church and the other towards the street – which seek to unite people in glimpses of God's presence and glimmers of hope.

Rev Peter Gardner at work

Rev Dr Sandy Forsyth, minister of Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church, approached Rev Peter Gardner and his wife and artistic partner, Heidi, with the idea of installing some type of art in the church garden that would help the church and the community to reflect together.

"Earlier this year I was thinking that as a church and a community we ought to mark the emergence from lockdown in a way that would help us look ahead with hope," explained the minister.

"Easter is about rebirth and renewal and I wanted to try and express those themes in a way that would subtly engage church members and the wider community.

"I was looking for an idea that would touch people's senses and something that they could encounter freely themselves and make up their own minds.

"I have known Peter and Heidi for many years and I approached them and I am delighted with what they have done.

"We have an installation that people can view on their own terms, they can walk past and glance at it or they can linger and think about it more deeply.

"I hope people will stop and reflect, remember what we have all been through but also look forward in hope, thinking too about how faith might interact with a potential future."

Mr Gardner is the Church's minister to the Visual Arts Communities of Glasgow and he and his wife have created many thought provoking installations over the years.

"Heidi and I hope that is this piece will help people to remember that the church building is open and as they walk past they will catch something of the hope that is expressed in this piece," he said.

"It took two days to install and while we were doing it, many local folk stopped to chat and expressed an interest in the piece and the concept behind it," he said.

"It is our hope that this artwork, sited in the garden of the recently re-opened church, willboth help people reflect on the shared experience of emerging from lockdown and communicate a glimmer of hope for the future.

"The gold leaf is a traditional material used by church icon painters and expresses something of the divine, the presence of God, and our hope is the canes will have a similar resonance."

Mayfield Church glimmer
It is hoped that the art installation will resonate with church goers and the general public alike.

People can find out more about the visual meditation by using a smart phone to scan a QR code on a sign fastened to a tree which will take them to the church's website.

They are also invited to take part in a free online 'Meet the Artists' event on the 20th of June.

"Hope Glimmers" will be in place on the West Mayfield side of the building until the 28th of June.

Rev Peter Gardner and his wife and artistic partner Heidi Gardner.

Donate to Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church, Edinburgh