Biggest Ever Christmas Art Project

Published on: Tue, 03/12/2019 - 11:23

Art Project

Lichfield Cathedral is known for its ambitious and awe-inspiring community art projects. 2019 sees Lichfield’s biggest ever mass participation project with up to 40,000 school children and members of the public participating.

Working with Artist in Residence Peter Walker, people all across the West Midlands have been busy creating their own self-portraits, making displays in schools and other community settings. 10 people from each community setting will also feature in the final installation artwork displayed inside Lichfield Cathedral for Advent and Christmas.

 Artist Peter Walker explains: “At the heart of this art project is exploring identity and where we all fit together in the universe. It is meaningful that, this year, the art project isn’t just centrally located at Lichfield Cathedral, but that there are also mini art installations around the West Midlands.”

The project entitled ‘In the Image and Likeness: A Constellation of Images’ sees hundreds of portraits stunningly suspended from the ceiling at Lichfield Cathedral at the centre of the Crossing, directly underneath the Great Spire.

The art installation will feature this year’s light and sound spectacular ‘The Cathedral Illuminated 2019: ‘The Beginning’ created by Luxmuralis artistic collaboration.

Previous years have seen installation artworks created with 5,000 stars, 10,000 Angels, 20,000 Peace Doves. This year’s art project, featuring self-portraits from people all over the world, allows everyone to contemplate their identity and own personal journey. It ties in Lichfield Cathedral’s theme for the year: Journeys through Space, Light and Time.

Here are some examples of the stories that have been handed in with the self-portraits as part of the project:

Paul Jones wrote:

“I am privileged as a teacher to play a part in shaping the lives of so many wonderful students. I hope the world they create will be bless with peace, love tolerance and joy.”

Charlie Stafford (Aged 5)

“My name is Charlie and I am in Year 1.  I live with my Mummy and my big brother who is 11.  When I grow up I want to be a policeman.  This is because they do good stuff and help others.  I can’t wait to be a grown up!  I think I am a very good friend because I play nicely with my brother and the other children in my class.”

Lacey Leigh:

“I feel special to be picked for the Cathedral because everyone will get to know who I am and learn more about me. They will get to learn all about my journey across the years.”

The art Installation also includes photographs of individuals from the project Embrace the Middle East.

Artist Peter Walker says: “We are very pleased that so many people have been involved this year - the project allows people to express their own creativity through self-portraiture which is an ideal mechanism reflecting how everyone sees themselves, whether a true depiction or how they want to be.”

The final artwork can be viewed daily at the Cathedral (free with donations gratefully received)

Ticket holders can see the installation lit and set to music as part of ‘The Cathedral Illuminated 2019: The beginning’ a spectacular sound and light show on the exterior and interior of Lichfield Cathedral.

Tickets for the Illuminations are available from the cathedral website: or can be purchased from The Cathedral gift shop.

 The project has been sponsored by Arts Council England.