11 June 2009

An encounter with the unknown and boundless deep

Patrick Comerford and Sebastian Barry at the opening of the exhibition, “Icons in Transformation,” in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin (Photograph: Garret Casey)

Patrick Comerford

The writer Sebastian Barry opened “Icons in Transformation,” the exhibition of icons and the icon-inspired artwork of Ludmila Pawlowska in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, last night [11 June 2009].

This unique and unmissable exhibition, which continues in Christ Church Cathedral until 19 July, includes over 135 works in a dramatic and intriguing presentation. Large sculptural pieces are suspended between the pillars in the nave, while smaller works are displayed throughout the cathedral, in the nave, ambulatory, south transept and the crypt.

Ludmilla’s exhibition has already toured Europe, and recently received glowing reviews when it was in Lincoln and Hereford. She now lives in Sweden, but her inspiration comes from 1,000 years of Russian traditions of icon writing.

“Icons have a spiritual power,” she told this month’s edition of the Church Review. “When I look at an icon, I am irresistibly attracted. Looking into the eyes of Mary’s icon feels like an encounter with the unknown and boundless deep. Something awakens in me – I can just be quiet, lose myself in its depth and just listen.”

The exhibition is open each day from 9.45 a.m. to 6.15 p.m. and continues until 19 July.

Later this month, on Saturday 27 July, there will be a series of lectures in the cathedral crypt to accompany “Icons in Transformation.” The speakers on the day will include Dom Gregory Collins, OSB, author of the Glenstal Book of Icons, Dr Sarah Smyth of the Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies in Trinity College Dublin, Mr Tim Thurston of RTÉ Lyric FM, and myself.

Canon Patrick Comerford is Director of Spiritual Formation, the Church of Ireland Theological Institute, Dublin, and a canon of Christ Church Cathedral.

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