Visitors to Woodbridge over the Easter Weekend were given a preview of a new piece of artwork in the town. Those who walk into the town centre from the riverside theatre can now see an 8ft high ‘hand sculpture,’ created by the acclaimed artist Rick Kirby, in the grounds of Woodbridge Quay Church.
As the minister Mark Hardingham points out; “Art and sculpture always causes a reaction. Last weekend when the premises were open all across the Easter holiday to tell the Easter Story and to read the entire bible out loud, we received hundreds of comments, from those who passed by or came in for coffee. The comments were overwhelmingly positive and it seems to have sparked great interest. Lots of children were photographed sitting in the hands, while others stood and stared. There is no doubt in my mind that this was the most photographed spot in Woodbridge over the Easter weekend – very appropriate for a church to find itself the centre of attention at this time of year!” Mark goes on to say: “I have had emails to point out the positive reaction across social media and church attenders have spoken with their friends who nearly all seem to love it.”
The sculpture was commissioned by the church following the refurbishment of their buildings in 2013. An expanding congregation wanted to make a statement about their faith. The commission was for a piece of
art that says Welcome, and draws the eye. A piece of art that says this is a healthy place where God is encountered, at a time when they feel our society chooses to push Jesus to the fringe, and when some people express a negative image of religion.
The brief also outlined a desire to raise interest without raising offence. Something that might speak of watching over, sitting with, standing alongside, inviting in, peace-experiencing and life-filled. Not any easy task for a sculptor!
If you look closely, the sculpture has some writing on it - The words I HOLD AND AM HELD. The people of the church understand this as an encouragement to put their trust in God. In faith they hold onto Jesus and His cross. He does not let go and they are held securely by God. The Hands also speak of supporting one another and of being supported - of giving and receiving.
The money for the Hands was received as a gift from within the church, made possible through a wonderful member whose life was committed to her Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and lived in humble service to Him and to her neighbours.
The sculptor is Rick Kirby. He is a nationally acclaimed artist and has steel installations and other sculpture, sited publicly across the UK. www.rickkirby.com/ . The church is delighted by his skill and diligence in working with their brief.
A public service of “thanksgiving and commissioning” was held last Saturday 2nd April 2016.