Launch of Gaia / Earth Exhibition
15th June 2022
St. Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh
Luke Jerram like all artists is gifted with imagination and creativity – his work opens our minds to new ways of viewing the familiar in life. There is nothing more familiar than the earth we walk upon. Because our world is so familiar, we take it for granted until we are invited to view from a different angle.
Thanks to the generosity of Garry and Anne Wilson, Cobh is blessed with the exhibition of Luke’s Gaia / Earth in this exceptional setting of St. Colman’s Cathedral – itself a jewel of imagination and sacred architecture. With this exhibition here we have a fusion of great importance for contemporary society – the need to respect and cherish our common home which is beautiful beyond words yet fragile in the balance needed by the whole human family who must share it.
Having the exhibition here, in what is a much-treasured sacred space, serves to respectfully join the perspectives of faith and science. This work of art is formed and informed by the fruit of the scientist’s search and enquiry, measurement and conclusions. It is the scientists who enlighten our understanding of the climate change we have begun to experience to a small measure on this part of the globe and to a great measure in other places.
From the perspective of faith, we rely on the scientists to help us appreciate the complex rhythms of our planet and thereby deepen our sense of awe and wonder at its beauty. Thanks to Pope Francis and his message in Laudato Si we refer to the earth as our common home. A shared home needs care and attention. Pope Francis also invites us to consider not just our physical natural environment but also all who depend on our sharing the earth resources. He speaks of “Fratelli Tutti:” – of all as sisters and brothers and our responsibility to seek a life of dignity for all. A human ecology is called for – a care for both the blessings of the natural world that allows all to live in dignity and peace.
“The world is ablaze with the glory of God” the hymnist says. The poet Elizabeth Barrett-Browning gives us the memorable verse
“Earth is crammed with heaven
And every common bush afire with God
But only the one who sees takes off their shoes”
My friends, these days are a wonderful blessing whereby our eyes are opened anew to the wonder and beauty of our world, whereby the creativity of the artist opens our minds to our noble responsibility to care for the earth and the whole human family, whereby our hearts and souls re-awaken our spiritual sensibilities to reflect and review our life’s patterns and pathways.
For now, let’s bask in its beauty and the wonder and awe it engenders within. And let us be thankful always.