A new contemporary art collection titled ‘The Kingdom of Heaven’ by the artist Cristina Rodrigues will reside at the Manchester Cathedral. The official dedication ceremony will take place at a service of Holy Eucharist on Sunday 17 September 2017, at 10.30am.
Cristina’s project involves the creation seven textile works for four of Manchester Cathedral’s altars and it is the product of a partnership with the Municipality of Castelo Branco, a town in the interior central area of Portugal, home to the sumptuous and noblest of Portuguese embroideries, known as the Castelo Branco Embroidery.
The name Cristina Rodrigues is not unfamiliar to Manchester, a city where she has lived, studied, worked and where she began her career as an artist. She was lecturing at Manchester School of Art when, in 2014, she presented ‘Women From My Country’ at Manchester Cathedral, an exhibition that was viewed by thousands of visitors between July and September of that year. In 2016, Cristina appeared on the cover of the January/February issue the American magazine SCULPTURE, and she had a monumental exhibition across various monuments in Seville, Spain, until 20th November. She also exhibited at the Colombo Art Biennale in Sri Lanka, on invitation from Alnoor Mitha, the Biennial’s curator and one of the most prominent curators in the UK.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s State Visit to Portugal. During this visit, the people of Portugal marked the occasion with an offering of a traditional bed spread embroidered in Castelo Branco especially for Her Majesty. This 17 September 2017, the work which Cristina is dedicating to the reign of Her Majesty will be presented in a solemn event at Manchester Cathedral, where it will remain before going on exhibition throughout the world. This gift from the People of Portugal also comes as a great sign of the Portuguese artist’s love of England and as a reminder of the oldest alliance of these two countries in the world.
The Dean of Manchester, The Very Reverend Rogers Govender said “Cristina Rodrigues is an international artist and I am pleased that she has exhibited her work at Manchester Cathedral in recent years. I am looking forward to her design work on the new altar frontals that the People of Portugal are gifting to Manchester Cathedral. This is, in fact, a gift to the people of England which I am very grateful for as we renew our historic friendship between our two great nations. These works of art being prepared by our friends in Portugal will be a wonderful addition to our collections at the Cathedral and will be available to go on tour around the world. Long may our friendship and collaboration continue for the common good and for the peace of the nations of our world”.
The Mayor of Castelo Branco, said “We feel proud, this is a symbolic moment in the long history of our two people and our two nations, sharing the oldest alliance in the world. For this reason the pride we feel is institutional but also personal to the people of Castelo Branco.’ LuísCorreia continues, more so, since the Victoria and Albert Museum, in London, will own the largest and most interesting collection of traditional Castelo Branco embroidered bedspreads on record, outside of the Francisco Tavares Proença Júnior Museum, in Castelo Branco. I hope this will be the first of many joint projects involving Manchester and Castelo Branco.”