31st August 2016
This bronze sculpture is by Janis Ridley, a local artist who lives and works on the edge of Dartmoor
This sculpture combines the tautness and tension of an agonisingly painful position held for any length of time with an immense grace and tenderness. The all-consuming love of the young mother bent over her new baby transforms tension and pain into a healing process.
It speaks also of how that love will grow and develop as it unfolds. The mother’s head, shoulders and back are almost foetal in their position; but the legs have unfolded and are pointed straight out towards the future and the unknown. In between is cradled the child – the bridge towards the two and a constant in the unfolding. As is the mother’s love, reflecting, as it does in the Christmas story, the love of God and his endless desire to share and transform the sufferings and tensions of his world.
This sculpture, in memory of Annette van Oppen (1935-2011), can be found in the Lady Chapel of Exeter Cathedral.