Hello BUC art lovers,

I vaguely recall an invitation to create some form of art piece to express our experiences of the pandemic and lockdowns. Our experience has been complicated with Jenny’s health challenges through 2020 (cataract surgery January, facial cancer surgery February, radiation therapy Feb/March, lymphoma hospitalisation and biopsy June/July, new medication and consequent extreme fatigue continuing).
Nevertheless for both of us the combination of Covid and cancer has shown us how blessed we are with family and friends who have supported us through this difficult time. Hence I’ve titled the sculpture ‘Hands that help; hands that heal; hands that bless’. The androgynous figure in the foreground (yes, men wear gowns too at times) is embraced at a suitably social distance by a tree with hands (?????), hence the title. The stylised figure is not fully aware that s/he is held in this loving embrace, just as we are never fully aware that ‘underneath are the everlasting arms’ (Deut 33;27), and that ’neither death, nor life, ……, nor anything else in all Creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Rom 8:38, 39). S/he is pondering the perplexity of their current situation and hence the uncertainty of the future.
The exercise has driven home to me the truth that we are integrated into the Creation, our wellbeing depends not only on family and society, but on our at-one-ness with the created order. When we abuse and exploit Creation we separate ourselves from the love of God that is in Creation (pardon the sermon). The less obvious part of the sculpture is the base, the ground representing the ground of being as Tillich puts it, the ground which is God and which unites us with Creation in divine agape.
The hands-tree is made from olive wood (of course), I’ve left some of the bark intact to remind the viewer that this was once a living, productive plant with roots deep in the ground. The foreground figure is of an intensely hard, dense timber of unknown genre, but representative of the sturdiness of the human spirit in the face of adversity. I hope this might encourage you to reflect in creative ways on your own experiences of Covid.
Blessings on you all,