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Fine Art student commissioned to create nativity scene at Liverpool Cathedral

A male vicar and a female vicar and a young female student stand next to a nativity scene.

A creative student at Liverpool Hope University has been commissioned to create the annual nativity scene at Liverpool Cathedral.

Paulina Kurzydlowska, a second-year Fine Art student, designed a striking crib scene which was revealed to the public for the first time on Sunday 10 December as part of the annual Lighting of the Tree and Blessing of the Crib service.

Paulina worked alongside Fine Art Programme Lead, Tony Smith, and Lecturer, David Ogle, to create the piece, which is set to be viewed by the thousands of people who will visit the Cathedral over the festive period.

Taking influence from Henry Ossawa Tanner’s depiction in The Annunciation from 1898, Paulina produced life-sized sculptures of Baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, an angel and two shepherds.

All of the figures were created from recycled materials and illuminated from within to represent the joy, love, goodwill and kindness associated with Christ’s birth.

“I was honoured to receive this commission project from Liverpool Cathedral,” said Paulina, who hails from the Isle of Mann.

“This artwork is built wholly from recycled materials such as cardboard, wood, paper and plastic bottles which I have collected since receiving the commission and in anticipation of making this sculpture because I wanted to work sustainably and with an awareness of current ecology and climate change issues.

“I hope that the work empathises with the raw humanity of this biblical event and provokes a sentiment of pathos for the figures represented whilst also highlighting the equivalence to current issues of homelessness, those seeking refuge, and a need for peace and understanding in the world.”

The Very Revd Dr Sue Jones, Dean of Liverpool, added: “The nativity scene is an iconic part of any church during advent and Christmas and it always starts to make me feel festive when this arrives.

“This year we are delighted to unveil a new scene designed by Paulina Kurzydlowska. We wanted a scene to challenge and inspire breaking us away from stereotypical depictions of Christ’s birth.

“Paulina’s work from recycled material does just that, bringing a fresh interpretation to a familiar scene asking questions about the nature of God at Christmas.

“We are thrilled with the work which has gained much appreciation and started many conversations.”

Published on 13/12/2023