Monday, 27 April 2009

Easter Resurrected

Easter came to a close for BEYOND at Easter Resurrected on Sunday 26th April where we brought together all the art from the Easter Path in one place at one time for a final viewing/meditation. Bringing things together into a new space gave us a chance to reinterpret some of the installations in a way that was appropriate for the space and with some additions.

During the hour we journeyed together from one installation to another following Jesus' path from Gethsemane to the cross. Station 2 was Jesus is condemned and originally this had been in Sydney Street Bikes where we had used the security grille in the shop window as a symbol of imprisonment with roped hands shackled to the ironwork. In the Old Market we suspended an old piece of wrought iron to make a three dimensional image of torture and restraint.

Dave's Comics also in Sydney Street put an amazing amount of thought into their display which featured a cross shape made from a series of comics about a 'godkiller' force that destroys a number of major superheroes. We added to this with images from the Manga Bible and some thoughts about the themes of death and resurrection which are so common in this kind of literature.

One of the other extensively reworked stations was number 9 at City News newsagents where Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem. The original window featured images of weeping women backlit and for our theatre installation we collaged these same images onto a series of colour changing lightboxes of various sizes.

An added bonus for those who came to the theatre was a station entitled 'Jesus is stripped of his garments' using a ripped and slashed suit jacket displayed in the form of a cross. This version of station 10 didn't work for the shop owner so we created something different around the soldiers throwing lots for Jesus robe which was the artwork eventually used for the Easter Path. Both images make us think about the importance we place on external appearance while God sees into our hearts.

Easter Resurrected finished with two neon crosses created by Andy Doig of Fishtail Neon which we installed on a darkened stage so that they spoke eloquently to us of the beauty and glory of the resurrected Christ symbolised by the empty cross.

We also managed to get hold of a copy of the BBC South East Today news report which went out on Good Friday.

Our next event is on 24th May at the Old Market on the theme of HOPE.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Easter Path Finale

Easter brings with it the culmination of the Easter Path after 6 weeks of activity, interest and a surprising amount of maintenance. We've had displays that got accidentally broken requiring repair with a blowtorch; one window that got replaced due to a shop refurbishment which meant the original design had to be radically changed; one display that kept mysteriously being removed for the first few weeks of the path and one central artwork that got sold while the shop owner was on holiday!

Throughout Lent we've guided a number of groups around the path at various times of day and in various conditions and we know that there have been lots of other groups using the path as an opportunity to do their own Lenten walk. Good Friday saw our final BEYOND group walking the path in the rain from midday to 2pm followed by fish and chips by the beach.

We've had a lot of interest from the media, especially over the last week as they look for good Easter stories and have filmed news reports with both Meridian and BBC South East Today. You can read a short report at and hopefully the TV reports will appear online soon.

Emily Jeffery of BBC Radio Sussex recorded a wonderful piece for their Sunday morning show which you can listen to on Easter Sunday sometime between 7am and 9am or here.

Through doing this we have learnt a lot about what it means to bring the Easter message out of the church and into the community. For most people Easter is about bunnies, chicks and chocolate - a million miles away from the suffering, death and resurrection that we focus on in the church, and yet these themes are incredibly relevant to modern day life especially in a recession when people are only too aware of the meaninglessness of materialistic living. It is time we stopped huddling away in our churches concentrating on our own little rituals and iconic observances and found ways to engage with those around us who are looking for some hope and inspiration and Easter is a great opportunity for that.

On April 26th we are bringing together all the exhibits from the Easter Path plus a few extras, including a visit from Siku, the artist who created The Manga Bible who will be telling us a bit about his work on this project. The event is at the Old Market from 7pm with bar open from 6.30. If you weren't able to make it round the Easter Path during Lent, please come and see everything together in the one place.