Where can we turn for help in the most tumultuous Easter most of us have known? Five contributors reveal the art that speaks to them, and us, right now.
Antony Gormley’s 100 cast iron figures stand on Crosby Beach in Merseyside; it’s home for me, I grew up 10 minutes away. Each figure is a cast of Gormley’s own body, and yet in reality they are all of us, they are every person. They stand there staring out to sea, and there’s something hypnotic about that. The sea draws us in, we lose ourselves in it.
The figures reflect the relationship between humanity and nature; to one side of the figures are the usually industrious docks, to the other the rolling sea. The tide ebbs and flows, the sea rolls from rough to smooth. The seasons come and go, the wind turbines churn. And through it all the figures are constant: still there, still fixed on the horizon.
Right now we don’t know how different the world will be in a few months’ time: but Gormley’s statues challenge us – dare us, even – to be still. They dare us to accept the “pause” that’s been imposed on us, and within this enforced interruption, to reflect on what kind of world we want to inhabit – what sort of world we’d like for ourselves and for generations to come.
In the new language of the coronavirus era, the iron figures are ahead of the curve: they’re social distancing, dotted well away from one another along the beach. They’re separated, but they’re not alone: there’s a sense of unity, of solidarity, about them. It’s a different perspective, and we see that in the response to the virus, whether it’s people supporting one another in their parishes, or Cafod hearing about how our local experts are raising awareness of Covid-19 in their respective communities.