Celebrated for centuries by Christians of various denominations, the Stations of the Cross represent the journey that Jesus took through Jerusalem on the day of his death, from his condemnation by the mob to his crucifixion and entombment. This progressive project will breathe new life into this venerable practice, drawing upon hidden masterpieces and fresh commissions to emphasize the contemporary relevance of this story for people of diverse beliefs and backgrounds.
Each work of art—whether long a part of London’s cultural landscape, or freshly created for this project—calls to mind one of the fourteen events along the Via Dolorosa, the Way of Suffering trod by Jesus on his way to Golgotha. In a pilgrimage for both believers and art lovers alike, each station will take viewers to a new location in London, mapping the sacred geography of the Holy Land onto the streets of a ‘new Jerusalem.’ Walking from one station to the next, visitors will find new meaning in some of the city’s great historic sites, as well as discovering new spaces for quiet meditation. This path will be consciously ecumenical, weaving through Anglican, Methodist, and Catholic churches. For many, one of the most inspiring outcomes of this journey will be the experience of being welcomed for the first time into churches of different denominations, and discovering new interpretations of familiar stories. At a fundamental level, the Stations of the Cross tell a story which resonates across religious and cultural divisions. The humiliation and torment of Jesus find a powerful echo in the experience of the downtrodden and excluded in contemporary London. The theme of compassion will run throughout this exhibition, coming powerfully to the forefront in Stations located in Notre Dame Church, dedicated to assisting refugees, and the Salvation Army, committed to helping to the poor.
Visitors will be encouraged to reflect upon how we treat those who dwell on the margins, treading their own solitary paths of suffering, just as Jesus did two millennia ago. Following the traditional Stations of the Cross, which end with a bleak vision of the tomb, this journey will not culminate in easy answers. But it will provide crucial places, spaces, and time for reflection.
“Victim, No Resurrection” by Terry Duffy
The event will run from 10 February (Ash Wednesday)—28 March (Easter Monday)
Dr. Aaron Rosen (King’s College London)
Terry Duffy (Artist)