While Easter will continue to be a weekend full of chocolate and bunnies, at its very core it remains a Christian celebration. It is a time for reflection on death and betrayal as much as it is a celebration of life, and the eternity that’s promised afterwards – and often, this can get overshadowed by the more commercial elements of the festivities.
Not entirely though, as the event Great North Passion proved. Taking place on Good Friday, South Shields saw a ‘pop-up’ cathedral appear in BentsPark, comprising of a stage area and storage containers in the shape of the cross. The Great North Passion also engaged with local artists by handing over the reins to twelve containers to see what they could come up with.
Mobile Mini were pleased to be able to supply some of the storage containers that helped to make up the large cathedral area. The containers themselves were used both to hold workshops in and for artists to use as a blank canvas. Some of the containers had travelled from places across the North after different artists and communities had helped to create the artwork on them.
As you can see on the BBC’s pictures from the day, the artists creatively used their containers to tell part of the Passion story, from Jesus Christ’s arrest right through to his death. Some of the containers were decorated with the graffiti on the outside, and this allowed artists to bring in young people outside of education or employment to help, along with local schools and church congregations. This particularly applied to the eleventh box, which was commissioned under the theme of Forgiveness.
Poetry also held a place in the Great North Passion, as poet Kate Fox performed a poem relating to another theme of Kindness with the backdrop of the storage container artwork undertaken by students of South ShieldsCommunitySchool. It is arguably in the final box, though, that the powerfulness of the event was articulated. Under the theme of Loss and Grief, artist Joseph Hiller created a steel sculpture that visualised Jesus’ last moments, marking his death on the cross. Even this was created with a community input, as the sculptor recruited the help of people around Souter Lighthouse in South Tyneside to show him their interpretations of the moments when loss and grief hits us most. It was these poses that helped Hiller to create the powerful last piece of the artwork puzzle that made up the Great North Passion.