Return of Lindisfarne Gospels inspires East Durham artists

Vice-Chair of EDAN, Jean Lowes at the launch of Events as part of the Festival of the North East.

Vice-Chair of EDAN, Jean Lowes at the launch of Events as part of the Festival of the North East.

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ARTISTS have been inspired by the Lindisfarne Gospels to create stunning and varied works of art.

Nine members from the East Durham Artists Network have produced everything from paintings, poetry, pottery and sculptures inspired by the historic gospels for a series of shows.

From Cave to Cathedral is made up of three exhibitions rotating around venues until the end of August.

All works have been inspired by the story of the Lindisfarne Gospels and produced to mark their return to the North-East this summer.

A launch event called Inspiration and Spaces provided a chance for people to meet the artists involved.

It took place at St Michaels and All Angels Church, in Houghton le Spring, which is one of three churches involved in staging the exhibitions.

The Very Reverend Michael Sadgrove, the Dean of Durham, who attended the launch event, said the Lindisfarne Gospels was an example of art and the gospel message coming together with the art interpreting the story.

He said: “It’s a wonderful example of how churches can be hospitable to art of all kinds.

“We want to encourage it more because, although art is wonderful in galleries and museums, when art comes into a church we begin to see it differently in a way which is enriched by the spirituality of the place.”

The Lindisfarne Gospels tell of the legacy of an artist monk living in Northumbria in the early 8th Century and are regarded as one of the best examples of creativity and craftsmanship from Medieval times.

Artist Jac Howard used driftwood collected for his art.

He said: “When art is exhibited in a white space, it can be a very restrictive audience that comes to see it, so it‘s wonderful to take it out to the public, and the church-going public, to see it exhibited in a space that inspired the making of the work itself.”

Exhibition curator Phil Barker added: “It’s about getting art away from the white wall gallery which is traditional and putting it in more unusual venues.”

Full details of the exhibitions are available from www.sunderlandminster.org.uk or East Durham Artists Network www.edan.org.uk or call (0191) 5654066.