Visitors to Derby Cathedral can now see ‘Peace Doves’, a large-scale art installation which will be on display until 12 June.
The installation was created by renowned sculptor and artist Peter Walker and features more than 8,000 paper doves suspended on ribbons above the nave, accompanied by a tranquil soundscape from composer David Harper.
The paper doves have been decorated with messages of peace, hope and love – many of which have been created by members of local community and wellbeing groups who have joined workshops run by Derby community arts organisation Artcore, and the general public.
The mass participation community arts project has also involved schools across the city and county who have made their own Peace Dove displays with the support of Peter Walker’s education and arts team.
The exhibition opening will mark the start of a diverse events programme across the city with an array of free and ticketed events, workshops, talks and concerts.
The Very Revd Dr Peter Robinson, Dean of Derby, said: “The last major art installation in the Cathedral was ‘Museum of the Moon’ in autumn 2019 which drew thousands of visitors to the Cathedral and had such a positive impact on the neighbouring Cathedral Quarter and the wider city centre.
“We were keen to recreate the positivity and beauty that a major art installation brings to the magnificent space in the heart of Derby Cathedral and were delighted when we secured artist Peter Walker to bring ‘Peace Doves’ to the city.”
He continued that the messages behind Peace Doves were even more powerful in light of the continued crisis in Ukraine.
He said: “Our original driver for bringing ‘Peace Doves’ to Derby Cathedral was to create a unique piece which reflects the thoughts and feelings of local people from all faiths, ages and backgrounds following such a turbulent time for everyone during the pandemic.
“Now, with war continuing in Ukraine and the value that we all place on peace being uppermost in our minds, the messages behind Peace Doves have even greater poignancy.
“We look forward to welcoming people to the cathedral and we hope that visitors will encounter peace and the space to reflect on the past two years and the suffering that Ukrainian people are now experiencing.”
Peace Doves was first staged at Lichfield Cathedral in 2018 when it was designed to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War.
It was also installed at Liverpool Cathedral in 2021 and attracted more than 150,000 visitors.
Peter Walker said: “I am delighted to bring Peace Doves to Derby Cathedral. Previous installations have been very well received and have created a prideful sense of community and togetherness.
"Sometimes, art has the ability to transcend just being an object and become the focus of our collective sentiments. That is the purpose of Peace Doves, which allows thousands of people to create, and express their own personal emotions as part of an ensemble which produces a beautiful final composition, and a series of smaller community works.
“It allows us not just see an artwork but to be part of it, to contemplate peace, as we think of those whose lives are so tragically affected by the many ordeals of life, from the tragic situation in Ukraine, and conflicts abroad to the many issues affecting people in this country, as well as those we love and who are close to us".
He added: “Nearly every message on the doves is not about one person, but about the community, the city, and the bigger picture. This artwork is designed really, by me, but it has been made by the people of Derby and Derbyshire.”
Peace Doves will be in place until 12th June 2022 and, throughout the exhibition, entry to the Cathedral will be free of charge although a suggested donation of £3 per person is requested which will go towards the care and work of Derby Cathedral helping to keep its doors open for all.
Booking is encouraged through Derby Cathedral’s Eventbrite page https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/peace-doves-at-derby-cathedral-tickets-239993104837?aff=ebdsoporgprofile as entry will be restricted at certain times eg: during services, private events and concerts.
Peace Doves at Derby Cathedral is funded by Arts Council England, Westhill Endowment, Cathedral Quarter Business Improvement District (BID), Derby City Council and Foundation Derbyshire.
For more information about Peace Doves at Derby Cathedral please visit https://derbycathedral.org/peacedoves/