Look up. Chichester Cathedral is beautiful at any time and always worth a visit but from now until 14th October, and then again from 21st October to 12th November, the cathedral is filled with 15,000 peace doves suspended from the nave and illuminated. Peace Doves is an artwork by artist and sculptor Peter Walker. The 15,000 paper doves have all been individually made and all have personal messages of peace, love, and hope, written by over 100 local community groups and schools, and members of the public.
Peter Walker is an internationally renowned sculptor and artist whose work consists of large-scale sculpture as well as paintings, drawings, film, and sound and light installations. Peter is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and a member of the Royal Society of British Sculptors. He was described by the Church Times as the “go-to practitioner for churches seeking accessible contemporary art interjections”.
A spiritual trail and a flock of hopes
“Let peace wash over you, let it inspire you, and let it remind you of the difference we can make when we come together with a shared intention – peace” is the message. But the Peace Doves are not just an immersive experience where you can sit, listen, and reflect. There is also a spiritual trail in the cathedral designed to “deepen visitors’ connection with the artwork and its symbolic call for peace”. There are several stations that have an invitation for prayer and action and visitors are invited to write a message of peace that will be displayed in the Transepts.
There are various other events in support of the display which include weekly story-telling under the Doves for under fives, silent discos, and special evening viewings, when visitors will be able to experience the installation by twilight, and set to music by Composer David Harper.
Take a moment
The cathedral was founded in 1075 to replace the cathedral founded in 681 by St Wilfrid for the South Saxons at Selsey…which in turn represented the very beginnings of Christianity in Sussex. But it doesn’t really matter what your thoughts on religion are. Taking a moment to reflect and joining a collective desire for peace is a moving experience and to do so within the ancient walls of this symbolic cathedral is both profound and evocative.
Before you leave, walk up Market Cross which is illuminated in similar colours. If you like this post about Peace Doves at Chichester Cathedral you may also like: