York Minster was the other Illuminating York venue we really wanted to visit. We knew to expect something rather different from last year’s memorable ‘Kaleidoscopia’, but hadn’t expected it to be quite so different.
The nave, emptied of chairs, filled with art. Modern, urban art, by Black Rose urban art collective.
I recognised those words immediately: they’re on the astronomical clock in the nearby north transept. Made fresh and startling, by Neil Ennui.
Obviously the Minster moves with the times. I know, from calling in every so often for a wander around, that it’s not a fusty place where everyone whispers and acts in a reverential way, and that it does incorporate many more modern additions into its historic fabric. Still, this was surprising, this ‘Minster Nights’ event.
The south transept, busy with people, and with tables set up, and children drawing. On one of the tables were T-shirts for sale, apparently by the artists whose work was on show around the nave. It didn’t seem very ‘religious’, and I was momentarily shocked, then laughed at myself for being shocked, and was pleased really to have my preconceptions about ‘churchy’ things challenged. I’m just a wandering agnostic, so what do I know.
And while I was wandering, saw this, above. I think it was created specifically for the Illuminating York event, but I hope it’s still in place, as it’s lovely:
Paper lanterns decorated by children from four local schools. Part of the Minster’s ‘community engagement work’, the nearby sign told me, ‘bringing new audiences into the Minster’.
I don’t remember anything like this when I was at school. I don’t remember going in the Minster before the age of 16. Then it was only because someone else took me there, at a time of crisis, and we went to the Zouche Chapel. Which I’d love to write more about. And how this place isn’t just a tourist attraction but a welcoming place of sanctuary when you need it.
Maybe another time. For now, my favourite lantern, spotted among the great gathering of lanterns:
I’m not sure whether the paper on the tables was for drawings on a particular theme, if so I’m sorry, we didn’t read that bit, but my companion left in York Minster a drawing of our cat. She’s giving a cheery wave and saying thanks to everyone in the Minster and beyond who worked so hard on Illuminating York 2013.