From 29 November, a stunning installation of 2000 golden boats is to be suspended as a flotilla high above the nave, opening the cathedral’s 300th Christmas celebrations. The Soul Boats have been made and decorated by individuals of all faiths and backgrounds from across the city including groups from Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Ravidassi , and of course Christian backgrounds.
School and community groups have also been involved in making the boats, including young people in youth clubs, older adults in residential care, families, festival goers and hospice patients. The majority of them have been made in Birmingham but some have been created across the country and abroad.
Birmingham Cathedral has commissioned artist Jake Lever to create the installation and the project has taken place alongside the ‘Something Good’ Outdoor arts events through out the cathedral’s 300th year. He is pictured left with Project Intern Beant Singh. Jake explains the installation: “The inside of each boat has been lovingly crafted using words and images, significant to each person. The opportunity to reflect upon our life journey has been really cherished by everyone. In the installation these interiors are hidden from view, hung high above the congregation. From below, the golden hulls of these boats sparkle and gleam, hung together as one flotilla, a very special birthday present for the cathedral.
It is real privilege to work with people of so many backgrounds and faiths in this wonderfully diverse city.” The Very Reverend Catherine Ogle , Dean of Birmingham adds: “We are delighted to be hosting the Soul Boats just as the cathedral reopens after renovation, and as we enter Advent, We have been profoundly movedthat so many people have been brought together by this project. This is an outstanding achievement for the artist and the participants and a wonderful finale to our tercentenary year.”
the Soul Boats will be in place for the first Sunday in Advent, 29 November 2015, when members of the public are invited to the 11:00am Choral Eucharist and the 4:00pm Advent Procession by
They remain on display until March 2016. Soul Boats is funded by Westhill Endowment and is part of Something Good, which is supported by Arts Council England and the Jerusalem Trust.