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Global attraction arrives at Lancaster Priory

Gaia arrives at Lancaster Priory

Submitted by Lancaster Priory

Life on earth is being celebrated at Lancaster Priory this summer with the arrival of a spectacular global artwork.

Gaia, which was displayed at COP26 in Glasgow last year, is now revolving from the Priory rafters where it can be viewed from today (June 24) until July 17.

Measuring seven meters in diameter, Gaia – the personification of the earth, according to Greek mythology – features the detailed NASA imagery of the earth’s surface.

The artwork, created by Luke Jerram, is 1.8 million times smaller than the real earth with each centimeter of the internally lit sculpture describing 18km of the earth’s surface. By standing 211m away from Gaia, visitors can see the earth as it appears from the moon.

The Vicar of Lancaster, the Rev Leah Vasey-Saunders welcomes Gaia to the Priory. Picture: Darren Andrews

When the Museum of the Moon was displayed at the Priory in 2019, it was seen by 30,000 people and as Gaia’s stay is longer, even more visitors are expected.

The Vicar of Lancaster, the Rev Leah Vasey-Saunders said: “Gaia gives us a fresh perspective on our planet and on its people.

“It is my hope that every visit to Lancaster Priory during this festival month inspires a sense of awe.

“We hope that visitors will find themselves inspired not just to look upon a spectacular piece of art, but also to reflect upon the world in which we live, the way we live in it, the people we share it with and of course the deep spiritual questions of our existence.”

It took three days to prepare the Priory for Gaia this week.

As in 2019, an historic 18th Century candelabra was removed and this year, for the first time since they were installed around 1860, 10 pews have also been moved to allow a temporary floor to be installed.

The new fully accessible space created will allow many of the performances during Gaia’s visit to take place in the round.

To celebrate Gaia’s time in Lancaster, an extensive events program will reflect on the weekly themes of community (June 24-28); nature (June 29-July 5); sustainability (July 6-12); and home (July 13-17).

The first Friday night event at 7.30pm on June 24 is a pub quiz with quizmaster, Kriss Foster, and this Saturday, from 11.15am, stalls and stands from local groups signposting to events within the community will be outside the church while inside, at 7.30pm, Priory organist, Ian Pattinson, will perform an Odyssey Into Space.

They’ve got the whole world in their hands, the first visitors to Gaia at Lancaster Priory. Picture: Darren Andrews

Musical performances, lectures, yoga, tai chi and Qigong sessions are just some of the other events taking place under the Earth sculpture during its stay and among the highlights will be the Blue Moon Band (July 1); a Night at the Opera (July 8) and the King’s Men choral scholars from King’s College, Cambridge (July 16).

These events are supported by Lancaster BID, Oglethorpe, Sturton and Gillibrand, Mazuma, ICT Reverse and the Duchy of Lancaster Benevolent Fund.

To complement Gaia, in St Nicholas Chapel, there’s the premiere of Four Rivers, an audio and film experience, reflecting the sounds of Morecambe Bay produced by Syrian artist and Lancaster University student, Aous Hamoud

While Gaia provides an earth view on a macro scale, Four Rivers invites audiences to take a micro view of the world through intimate detail of the sands and tides as they shift in and out of the Bay.

BBC folk singer of the year, Rioghnach Connolly will sing with Lancaster Sanctuary Choir under Gaia at the Priory on July 14. Picture: Darren Andrews

Visitors wishing for some quiet contemplation during the festival can use the Regimental Chapel which is set aside for prayer and spiritual activities.

Lancaster Priory is open for Gaia viewings from 10am-5pm every day and admission is £3.

Hourly time slots can be booked in advance to guarantee entry. Anyone wishing to pay on the door might have to queue.

Up to 200 people can be inside at any one time and it is essential that groups of 12 or more contact to book in advance.

Tickets for evening events range from £5-£16. For more information and to book, visit the Lancaster Priory website.

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