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‘Ground-breaking’ community art installation - Winchester Cathedral

Posted: 3rd February 2020

Winchester Cathedral hosted a ground-breaking multi-dimensional community art installation at the end of January, inspired by the theme of pilgrimage and coffee. Pausing to drink coffee echoes the rhythm of pilgrim steps and prayer.

‘Pilgrim Grounds’ saw the creation of a giant labyrinth in the Nave from used coffee grounds and other coffee-related sustainable materials. The ran from Thursday 23 January and until Wednesday 29 January.

People of any age and ability participated in making an individual art ‘tile’, with the help of local artists, art students and craftspeople.

Winchester Coffee shops participate by saving their coffee grounds and those involved picked up a special packet of dried grounds and came to the Cathedral to create their ‘tile’. Or they selected a few words from their coffee conversation and texted them on the designated number where they were projected in the Cathedral and woven into poems to be performed at the Labyrinth Experience.

As the labyrinth developed over seven days and reached completion, visitors were invited to come back and see what had been created. It is estimated that over 1,000 tiles were required to create the labyrinth, and visitors were strongly encouraged to participate. Students from the Art School created a suspended ‘steam’ installation rising from the coffee grounds art below.

Finally, on Wednesday 29 January from 7 - 9.30pm all were invited to gather for a labyrinth experience to celebrate its completion, to walk through the coffee art tiles which make up the labyrinth and spot their own. There was performance poetry created from the collected words from coffee conversations.

Artistic Director of the project, Gill Sakakini, said: ‘This was an engaging collaboration where everyone made their mark at the start of the Year of Pilgrimage by participating both in the making and mindful walking of this giant labyrinth’.

The Very Reverend Catherine Ogle, Dean of Winchester, said ‘Pilgrim Grounds came at the start of the cathedrals’ Year of Pilgrimage as a creative opening to a yearlong event.  Labyrinths are an ancient Christian form of mindful journeying, with a purpose and destination, leading into prayer.  I was excited by the scope of Gill Sakakini’s ambition to lead a community arts project in the cathedral that combined art, music, spirituality and coffee!’