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Mosaic artwork brings stories to life

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The ‘Little Bits of God’ artwork is currently being hosted in the Chapel at Leeds Trinity University and helps bring scriptures and key gospels to life in a modern and engaging way.

Mosaic artwork.

The Little Bits of God is a piece of artwork based on stories told and shared. The art installation is part of the God Who Speaks national campaign touring the country organised by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and the Bible Society. The life size multi-panelled mosaic is on display in Horsforth until Wednesday 31 May.

British Artist Pete Codling was commissioned by the God Who Speaks initiative to create the mosaic. Pete is a contemporary artist based in Portsmouth with a portfolio in charcoal drawing, public art and sculpture.

Smalti mineral glass was used to help give the mosaic a sparkly eye-catching glint. This is referred to as the Byzantine technique and one that would have been familiar in the 4th Century throughout Rome, Venice and other places using the classical forms of early Christian art.

Each panel of the mosaic helps translate stories from the Bible including the birth of Jesus, his crucifixion and resurrection, the Feeding of the 5000, and other familiar scenes based on various saints and prophets. The artwork also includes a modern-day story of a child refugee.

The child featured is based on the heart wrenching scenes witnessed by the world when Alan Kurdi, the two-year-old Syrian boy was found washed ashore on the Turkish coast in 2015 following a failed attempt to flee a war-torn country.

Hannah Hayward, Coordinating Lay Chaplain at Leeds Trinity University, said: “The reference to the young child who was found washed ashore on the beach in Turkey trying to reach Canada is a reminder that the Word of God and the painful reality of human experience are both intertwined. The Scriptures shed light on the drama of human history, giving us a better vision for humanity, one where the broken are healed, injustice is challenged, and the marginalised are loved.  This mosaic reminds us as a Catholic foundation University that everyone who studies and works at Leeds Trinity is called to care about the most vulnerable in society. We are very proud to host the Little Bits of God artwork and look forward to welcoming people into the Chapel to view it.”

Artist Pete Codling said: “This artwork reflects how God speaks through all ages and to all people. I take you on a journey through the life of Jesus, Mary, St Jerome, St Matthew and many other biblical figures united through the dynamic of the Trinity. In using techniques in mosaic and wood, I reference the translation of the Bible through material and imagery as well as through word.

“The idea behind this artwork has challenged me technically as well as artistically. My research for this artwork took me to Ravenna and Venice in search of materials, technique and craftmanship. It is very detailed and colourful, full of contrast and texture, lots to look at! It is relatively small in comparison with my other work but is certainly a heavy weight in terms of its content and ambition.”

The artwork resonates deeply with the University and its Catholic foundations. It also illustrates how as a community, the staff and students of Leeds Trinity provide an inclusive space for people from all faiths and backgrounds as a place of unity.

Fleur Dorrell, the National Coordinator of the God Who Speaks campaign, said: “I am delighted that our Little Bits of God artwork is being exhibited at Leeds Trinity University. As the centrepiece of our God Who Speaks campaign, it enables more people to engage with the Bible creatively and visually. In telling the story of our faith through art it reveals God's beauty and truth for modern times.”

The artwork will travel to several locations across the UK as part of its tour. It is available to see and explore at Leeds Trinity University in Horsforth until the end of May.

The artist has created a 360° virtual experience that can be experienced online for those unable to visit and see the work in person.

 

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