Angel of Dresden, February 13/14 1945
White-pigmented fibreglass resin, wood, rope, canvas. Life-size
This work was displayed in the Nave of Coventry Cathedral earlier this year, as part of the Cathedral’s current year-long Plumbline Arts Festival, celebrating the Cathedral’s diocesan centenary. The Cathedral has invited parish churches within the Warwickshire diocese to display the work at various times in 2018 as part of the continuing centenary celebrations.
This work refers to the bombing of Dresden in the late stages of the Second World War. I was affected by both the loss of human life and of a city of Rococo cultural heritage destroyed by aerial bombardment - indicative of such events as inflicted by both the Allied and Axis Powers against each other during the War.
I wished to convey to the viewer the figure sculpture as an intercessory angel between those still alive amongst the destruction, and the terror raining down from the aircraft overhead. The ascending angle of the apparatus from rear to forward of the figure, and oblong attachments to the assembly either side of the figure sculpture, suggests a primitive flying apparatus not capable of actual, but of symbolic flight. The huge circular drums, I imagine as voices of the vanquished. The neutrality of this work enables us here to reflect on the earlier and comparable mass bombing of the medieval city of Coventry in November 1940. The piece reminds us of the effort to peace and reconciliation Coventry Cathedral has sought with Dresden and to subsequent spheres of conflict since the very end of the Second World War.