Bristol Reconciliation Reredos
On Friday 21 January, 2011, the work of Saint Stephen’s artist-in-residence, Graeme Mortimer Evelyn was unveiled in Bristol’s parish church. A first for the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Bristol Reconciliation Reredos is set to become an universal symbol of hope and a destination for international visitors. A contemporary artwork, its four relief panels are carved from MDF, painted in bold primary colours, and fitted into the recently-restored stonework. Extraordinarily, the carved lamb of God reredos (behind the altar) had been covered up since the 1870s. Saint Stephen’s was the harbourside church during the slavery era. The Bristol Reconciliation Reredos seeks to respond to this complex legacy inspired by themes of hope and healing.
Graeme said the following about his work:
"St Stephen’s is one of the oldest churches in the city located in the centre of the city where the quayside used to meet at its door and ships were moored nearby. However, the significance of this particular 15th century place of worship in relation to Bristol’s history, is that St Stephen’s blessed every ship that left the port of Bristol, including every slaver that left the city harbour for Africa to trade for enslaved people during the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
‘St Stephen’s Reredos however, is more than just a reconciliation of past injustice. It is also an understanding of who we are, the potential, manifest in spaces that reflect the future of what may, could and can be, what exists whether you see it or not, believe or not. Its vastness and brevity is impossible to measure. The Reconciliation Reredos is supported by Heritage Lottery Fund South West."
ST FRANCIS AND ST CLARE - stained glass
Two stained glass light boxes representing Saint Francis and Saint Clare, made by the artist Greg Tricker were installed in Saint Stephen's in 2010.
Tricker was first drawn to the figure of St Francis of Assisi in 2005, producing a series of works tracing Francis’ life from the son of a wealthy merchant to devoted follower of Christ, at one with all the animals of God’s creation, founder of the Franciscan friars, famed preacher, and symbol of Christian piety, humility and charity. In 2010, Tricker returned to St Francis, and his follower St Clare of Assisi, founder of the Order of the Poor Ladies, now known as the Poor Clares, with these two works. Tricker first started creating stained glass for his series, The Christ Journey, which included St Francis and St Clare and was exhibited at Gloucester Cathedral and Westminster Cathedral. Using found pieces of glass, Tricker crafts stained glasses with fragments of luminous colour.