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iMigration 2, by Anthony Head

Start date: Tuesday, February 7th 2017
End date: Wednesday, February 7th 2018

Last summer, we were delighted to host iMigration, a unique temporary installation as part of the Forest of the Imagination festival. The sculpture made such an impact on us and our visitors, we've invited the artist, Anthony Head, lecturer and researcher at Bath Spa University, to recreate this wonderful experience in our South Transept.

iMigration 2 by Anthony Head is a large-scale sculpture, a swarm of colourful paper butterflies, spanning five metres and suspended ten metres up in the air inside the Abbey. The first impression for the audience is of a single group, a swarm of creatures that appear to be the same. Closer inspection reveals that each butterfly is unique, with its own digital genetic code and individual wing pattern influenced by random mutations.

The sculpture, like its predecessor iMigration, continues the exploration of the themes of migration, diversity and individuality. In the swarm each butterfly features colour and patterns designed with computational methods: procedural textures and the fractal mathematics of nature. The butterflies move gently in the air currents that fill the Abbey as if travelling on a migration. In today’s world of human migration and its reporting, it’s easy to forget how unique each person is, to reduce people to anonymous groups, stereotypes, or just numbers.  This work challenges us to think differently.

The artist invites us the audience to seek out individual stories of migration, of fellow human beings in a world saturated by ‘mass’ media reporting, statistics and the digital consumption of news.

The Casting Out

Start date: Tuesday, August 15th 2017
End date: Thursday, November 9th 2017

‘The Casting Out’ is a 3D sculpture by local artist, Martin Elphick.  It illustrates the work of the old leper hospital on Holloway on the south side of Bath, and is currently on display in the small courtyard just outside the Abbey’s south-east door on Kingston Parade. Though Leprosy is now less prevalent in most countries, people today still become outcasts in their communities for other reasons. Discrimination is a harsh reality for many. This sculpture explores how those on the margins of society are treated and challenges us to see if we welcome and embrace those who are excluded, or whether we simply join the crowd of those who exclude. 

The exhibit has been placed alongside another sculpture, ‘Resurrection of Christ’ by Laurence Tindall, a stone sculpture of Jesus Christ rising from the dead, which has been in place outside the Abbey since 2000.

There is a strong link between Laurence’s stone sculpture which shows Jesus Christ breaking out of the grave cloths that bound him and Martin Elphick’s ‘The Casting Out’. Jesus described himself as the ‘resurrection and the life’ and he associated with people with leprosy who were outcasts, who were counted as good as dead by society. When they put their faith and trust in him their life and hope was renewed.

The sculpture can be seen until 10th November.