A commemorative glass installation at Canterbury Cathedral marks the centenary of the end of the Great War. The intricate and delicate display underlines the destructiveness of war and 100 years later, it’s enduring prevalence
Words by Ellen Peirson
Baldwin & Guggisberg: Under an Equal Sky
Until 11 November
For the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, Baldwin & Guggisberg was commissioned to create a commemorative installation for Canterbury Cathedral. As artists predominately known for their work in glass, for Under an Equal Sky, Philip Baldwin and Monica Guggisberg use the medium to subtly echo the fragility of living through war.
Central to the installation is 100 glass vessels, one for each year since 1918, suspended to form the shape of a boat in the cathedral’s nave. While the immediate image of the Boat of Remembrance is to commemorate the past, the work also reflects contemporary issues and exposes within the boat imagery a desperation, reminiscent of those still taking refuge in the water when war makes the land too dangerous.
The boat leads the viewer through to a wall formed of glass vessels, in three parts. Titled Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, the triptych shows vessels in various states of disrepair, highlighting the deterioration that war causes.
Embedded in the past, Under an Equal Sky asks the viewer to use the past’s lessons in looking to the future. With such an intricate and delicate display, it underlines the destructiveness of war, its enduring prevalence and the ongoing need to provide refuge for those who suffer as a result.