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A BEACON OF LIGHT
Legacy by Roberta Fulford
About the artwork
On display from Friday 21 October 2022 until Sunday 16 April 2023, ‘Legacy’ has been created to immerse the onlooker in the transformative moment between Jesus becoming a boundless flowing energy reaching out into the world after his sacrifice on the cross – an unending legacy of love and sacrifice. It can also be seen to relate to each of us – we have our own legacy in some way, through our actions. One person can change the world through love.
A semi-abstract figure hangs upon a double-sided crossbar painted with a sky depicting a beautiful dawn, above two asymmetric mirrored steel pieces reflecting us and our world, in which Jesus moved for a time.
The figure, and sculpture as a whole, is made from 150 metres of walnut veneer, backed with golden copper leaf; each small piece of leaf is applied by hand. The body on the cross is a deep blood red at the start of the figure, to depict bodily suffering, becoming lighter red and orange as it moves around the shape of the figure, then golden as it descends from the figure, to represent the glorious transformation from earthly body to eternal force.
The installation flows out abundantly in all directions, connecting with everything it touches; an endless power and force for good.
About the artist
Artist and sculptor, Roberta Fulford, completed an Arts degree at Northumbria University, and her work has evolved from furniture and interior design to now focusing entirely on her multi-disciplinary art. She uses a variety of materials and techniques to create works that aim to connect with the onlooker, inspire an emotional response and ultimately unite us in a positive direction towards caring for each other and the planet.
Q&A with Roberta Fulford
How did you come to display ‘Legacy’ at Newcastle Cathedral?
I had attended one of the Cathedral’s wonderful comedy nights and was so impressed by the team’s forward-looking and inclusive ways of connecting with a wider public. I had the embryonic form and idea made and decided to write to ask whether the Cathedral might be interested in my piece in some way. I was so thrilled when I was contacted and asked to come to meet the Dean. We had a wonderful walk around the Cathedral and spoke about the possibilities, and I was very excited to be offered the opportunity to create an installation in this very prominent part of the Cathedral.
How does it feel to have ‘Legacy’ displayed in this location?
Since the Cathedral contacted me, I have felt incredibly moved and honoured to have this opportunity. It is, without doubt, the most wonderful thing in my creative life so far, not least because of the magnificent and benevolent environment, but especially since I completed my Arts degree in Newcastle many years ago, this feels like life coming full circle. The faith that the team put in me to create the work in situ has been an honour, and I was determined to try to meet their expectations. I hope the work will connect with visitors to the Cathedral and perhaps summon a personal emotional response to enrich their experience in this beautiful spiritual place.
How has the presentation of the piece been tailored for the space?
This has been very interesting for me and technically challenging. Of course, I couldn’t mark or damage any existing surfaces or materials, fixing only to structures, holes and other historic additions [such as hooks] that I found in the space. I enjoyed this, as the building and its ‘history of use’ helped to shape the final work. I tailored the form of the artwork to fix to these quite sparse points in very random locations.
The piece had to be lightweight but fill a very large space and have a presence that wasn’t lost in this grand environment. Hence me using 150 metres of the walnut and copper structure, which is lightweight, strong and has the effect I wanted.
Lighting is an important element to highlight the contrast between wood and metal. The flowing tendrils of the piece were tailored to flow around, but not interfere with, the surroundings, such as the wonderful painting of St George and the Dragon [by Dutch artist Louis Raemaekers].