Luke Jerram’s Gaia in Lancaster Priory
- Credit: Photo by Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Fifty years ago, NASA’s Apollo 17 mission first showed earth to the world as a blue marble floating in space. Half a century on, the earth is depicted as a sculpture revolving from the rafters of Lancaster’s oldest church.
Luke Jerram’s Gaia is spending three weeks at Lancaster Priory from June 24-July 17 and if it’s anything like his Museum of the Moon sculpture which visited in 2019, it will attract more than 30,000 visitors.
This will be the first event on a massive scale to take place in the church since it welcomed the Rev Leah Vasey-Saunders, the first female Vicar of Lancaster. Leah arrived at the Priory in August from Wakefield Cathedral which, by coincidence, was hosting Gaia that month.
‘It’s wonderful to be bringing Luke Jerram’s Gaia to Lancaster and especially to the Priory,’ said Rev Vasey-Saunders. ‘We hope it will bring a sense of awe and wonder, as well as encourage people to reflect on our care for the planet.’
Gaia’s most recent North West appearance was in Warrington in March and it played a prominent role at COP26 in Glasgow last year.
Measuring seven metres in diameter, Gaia – the personification of the earth, according to Greek mythology – features the detailed NASA imagery of the earth’s surface.
The artwork is 1.8 million times smaller than the real earth with each centimetre of the internally lit sculpture describing 18km of the earth’s surface. By standing 211m away from Gaia, visitors can see the earth as it appears from the moon.
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As Gaia revolves, a specially made surround-sound composition by BAFTA award-winning composer, Dan Jones can be heard. But that won’t be the only music in the Priory during Gaia’s visit as the church is also hosting a packed programme of events supported by Lancaster BID, Oglethorpe, Sturton and Gillibrand, Mazuma, ICT Reverse and the Duchy of Lancaster Benevolent Fund. Events will reflect themes of community, nature, sustainability and home.
On June 25, stalls and stands from local environmental groups signposting to events within the community will be outside the church.
Friday nights throughout Gaia’s visit will see special music events including the popular Blue Moon Band on July 1 and a Night at the Opera on July 8. On the final Saturday night, July 16, the King’s Men choral scholars from King’s College, Cambridge will perform.
Live music will also accompany Gaia on Thursdays while Wednesdays will see guest lectures, presentations and question and answer sessions. On Tuesday evenings, there will be opportunities to participate in Tai Chi and Qigong, and on Monday evenings, there’s yoga sessions under the Earth sculpture. Other events planned include an art workshop, a quiz, and day-long activities with Sewing Café Lancaster and Relic Plastic.
To complement Gaia, an audio and film experience – Four Rivers – reflecting the sounds of Morecambe Bay produced by Syrian artist Aous Hamoud will take place in St Nicholas Chapel while the Regimental Chapel will be set aside for prayer and spiritual activities.
Joining forces with the Priory to produce and fund the Gaia visit and events programme is Stuart Marshall of Bandwagon Events, the Lancaster-based company behind the city’s popular Music Festival.
Stuart said: ‘We are very excited to help bring this spectacular artwork to Lancaster and hope as many people as possible see Gaia while it’s in the Priory and enjoy the themed programme of events around it.’
For more information on Gaia’s visit and booking details, see lancasterpriory.org