Art and Sacred Places


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Ashley McCormick and Zana Wood - The Spaces in Between

Project artists Ashley McCormick and Zana Wood worked with members of the congregation of Wessex Jammat Mosque to produce an innovative high quality, image-based, interactive, flick book which operated like a moving series of prayer wheels.

Comments by members of Wessex Jamaat Mosque: "Art and Sacred Places was very sensitive to individual needs and spent time getting to know us." "We would not hesitate in suggesting that others should take part in similar projects. This enriching exploration of spiritual needs and strengths did much to develop a sense of belonging to a wider community." "The shared dialogue was very enlightening." "The group sessions showed us that art could be fun." "There was an element of intrigue and suspense. As soon as we met the artists we were just delighted. All the kids and the adults were ready coming forward to help." "I knew I was in very capable hands. It was a pleasure, really a delight."

Project: The Mosque had previously been a garden centre and a domestic residence. McCormick and Wood were interested in these changes of use, significance and occupation. During creative sessions they encouraged members of the congregation to observe and consider how decorative patterns can reveal culture and identity. Participants developed abstract motifs and repeating patterns employing everyday objects found in the Mosque, sunlight, mirrors and cameras. McCormick and Wood animated a selection of the motifs to develop patterns, which multiplied, flowed and diversified, reflecting the metamorphosis of the building.

McCormick and Wood's artwork was one of six artists' books produced for the Art and Sacred Places Six Sacred Sites project in collaboration with 'aspex' gallery, Portsmouth, 'The Winchester Gallery' and 'Hampshire Sculpture Trust'. The project was designed to explore the range of ways in which a location may be regarded as sacred and to reflect on the enduring power and significance of the notion of sacredness in our society.

Six Sacred Sites exhibitions and events included:

23rd September to 16th October, 2006 - Basingstoke Hindu Society, Carnival Hall
28th October to 19th November, 2006 - Portsmouth Anglican Cathedral
19th November, 2006 - RoadPeace Service for World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims
8th January, 2007 - South Wonston Primary School
13th January to 17th February, 2007 - Rope Store Gallery, Quay Arts, Newport, Isle of Wight - Meeting Place of the Newport Quaker group
23rd February to 18th March, 2007 - Aspex Gallery, Vulcan Building, Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth
6th July to 2nd August, 2007 - The Winchester Gallery
13th July 2007 - Artists' Book Symposium with UWE and Winchester School of Art

Project funders and supporters: Arts Council England SE, Hampshire County Council, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, Portsmouth City Council, Winchester City Council, aspex gallery, University of Southampton

Art and Sacred Places - MMXVI-MMXVII