A huge painting and a series of sculptures have set the scene for outreach during the Olympic period in Westminster, the political and spiritual heart of London and one of the capital’s tourist hotspots. By placing these works of art in public places, and by combining them with performing arts on the green in Westminster, many visitors from around the world will see and hear the message of Jesus’ love during their stay in London.
The painting, called The Key of David, is inspired by a dream given by God to Bryan Pollard (pictured right), a former staff member of Youth With A Mission (YWAM). Measuring 18 feet high by 72 feet wide, the painting is available for public viewing in the Methodist Central Halls, opposite the Houses of Parliament, by More Than Gold (MTG), the umbrella organisation helping the Church to engage with the Games.
What is particularly remarkable about this painting is that it has been created by over 70 artists from all over the world, each artist painting a square canvas that is a part of the whole painting, and working together via the Internet and Skype.
“This has been an amazing project,” said Bryan. “We have contributions from all the continents, and from every generation – the youngest contributor is 7 years old. I art-directed all their work. It took a lot of hard work for the collaboration not to disintegrate. When you’re directing artists, it’s a bit like directing cats. They all want to do what they want to do, and the groups would be in danger of coming apart. Then we would pray and the Holy Spirit would bring us all back together us and get us all sorted. It’s been quite thrilling. Some of the artists have had to allow other artists to paint on their canvas, as sometimes an image crosses between canvases. There is tremendous power in the image: unity yet diversity; one picture, yet each individual canvas is unique and can stand alone.”
As such, this painting reflects several aspects of the YWAM/Forever Olympic outreach. First, to draw people from the nations to work together as one united body of Christians to be salt and light in London during the Games. Second, to reach out to the many nationalities visiting London during the Games through multicultural teams and projects.
The Key of David can also be seen on the opposite side of Westminster Green – in St Margaret’s Church, the church used by Britain’s Members of Parliament situated next to the Houses of Parliament and a major tourist attraction in itself. Inside the church is the prototype version of the Key of David painting, plus a series of sculptures by Christian artist Eleanor Cardozo. Outside is a life-size sculpture by Eleanor that is causing people to stop and take a look. A book made available by More Than Gold for comments is capturing the responses to the art from people from all four corners of the earth (see pictures).
Throughout the public viewings in both venues, artists plus staff from MTG will be available to help visitors understand the message of both the Key of David and the sculptures.
The impact of the outreach will be further enhanced during the Olympics by a daytime programme of performances by performing arts teams from YWAM and other agencies, all part of the More Than Gold initiative. These performances will include dance, dramas and music.