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Artistic innovation at Norwich Cathedral hopes to astonish and engage this Christmas

An illuminating union between Norwich’s Cathedral and University College of the Arts has created a striking spiritual image at the heart of this year’s Christmas services. For this year only, visitors to Norwich Cathedral can view an astonishing animated interpretation of the Cathedral’s 2011 Crib instead of the familiar sculptured tableau of the Holy Family.

Commissioned by the Dean and Chapter, the project has been created by Professor Suzie Hanna from the Norwich University of the Arts, in collaboration with Canon Phillip McFadyen, the Bishop of Norwich’s Officer for the Visual Arts.

The large projected watercolour image depicts the Madonna and Child, after the style of the Italian medieval artist, Duccio di Buoninsegna. It is inspired by Richard Crashaw’s poem, In the Holy Nativity of our Lord, and the projection explores some of the refractory images which flicker throughout the poem.

“To have this image reworked on such a scale and explored through modern technology will release its power to astonish and engage the viewer to a devotional response,” said the Dean of Norwich, the Very Revd Graham Smith. “It is intended both for liturgical use in our Christmas services, but also as a proclamation of the mystery of the Incarnation to the large number of Cathedral visitors during Advent and Christmas.”

Professor Suzie Hanna is professor in animation education at NUA and is renowned for her research and projects which have been selected for international animation and film festivals. NUA principal, Professor John Last, said: “Being commissioned to create a visual projection for the 2011 crib by the Cathedral is a great honour. We hope it will help those visiting the Cathedral over Christmas to take a moment to pause and reflect and that it will inspire them to think in a fresh way about the Madonna and Child. It has also been an opportunity for us to demonstrate some of the creative skills involved in animation education at NUA.”

 Animation installation in Norwich Cathedral

 Close up of the Madonna and Child

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