Bristol Reconciliation Reredos
A new altarpiece was installed (print above) in the empty spaces on each side of the stone Lamb of God at Saint Stephen’s church.
Saint Stephen’s stone reredos (below) has now been restored.
The Bristol Reconciliation Reredos is set to become an universal symbol of hope and a destination for international visitors.
Unveiled in January 2011, the evening was a night to remember.
Opportunity to buy Collector’s Limited Edition prints
The Bristol Reconciliation Reredos is the energy joining a major radical public artwork with groups of people from the city for workshops, forums and sharing experience.
Linked to stories of healing, wholeness and reconciliation these events will connect communities of difference and give substance to the need for reconciling communities. The vision springs from Bristol’s the 2007 commemoration of the Act to Abolish the Slave Trade.
Saint Stephen’s Reconciliation Laboratory gathers in front of the altarpiece for special events to share issues that might divide us.
The artist-in-residence is Graeme Mortimer Evelyn (see more below); the architect, David McLaughlin.
The Bristol Reconciliation Reredos is Saint Stephen’s response to a complex legacy. As the harbour church, Saint Stephen’s would have blessed the slave trade ships and benefited from its merchants’ donations.
It is also the place where Africans living in slave-trade Bristol were buried.
Saint Stephen’s is responding to the work of reconciliation through the arts.
Saint Stephen’s hosts the Building Reconciliation Hope exhibition.
Graeme Mortimer Evelyn
A first in religious arts commissions, the artwork is both contemporary and iconic, and will shape Bristol’s modern history.
Its four panels replaced Victorian tin work corroded beyond repair.
Graeme Mortimer Evelyn used materials to create strong images with vibrant relief, demanding focus. His work arrests attention and response.
His style and authority arises from a depth of research, cross-referencing images and impressions in novel ways.
An approach that suits this demanding commission, which seeks to embrace the story of slavery in the City, without being literalist or superficial.
Embedded in the Victorian stonework, the relief panels are in the tradition of altarpiece narratives. In this case, they intend to nurture reflection, response and reconciliation.
Graeme Mortimer Evelyn’s design work celebrates these themes in the City’s parish church’s central place – behind the altar (reredos) – and in the heart of Bristol.
Graeme Evelyn spoke to BBC Radio Bristol’s Sunday Starts programme and told Glyn Johnson all about the project in August 2010.
Here, the artist talks to the Bristol Evening Post in January 2011 about his work.
The Bristol Reconciliation Reredos is already creating energy for dialogue and devotion, as our programme (above) shows.
How Reconciliation Reredos came about
The story started in 2007 when Bristol joined the commemoration of the abolishment of slavery (1807). This experience exposed a struggle to recall, remember and reconcile.
Saint Stephen’s responded to this legacy of tensions and wounds with creative solutions inspired by Christian spirituality.
At its heart, Christian experience is healing and reconciliation: dealing with past hurts to release energy for life.
Community Learning Events
The Bristol Reconciliation Reredos public art project includes Community Learning Events focusing on the legacy of the trans-Atlantic trade.