Art Iconography Project

June 21, 2024
A small group of budding Art students had the opportunity to work on their own 'Icon' under the supervision of some sacred art specialists from Canada!

The Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery provided a special backdrop for St Wilfrid's students to learn about Christianity’s most ancient sacred artform in an initiative funded by Lancaster University.

A selection of students from St Wilfrid’s C of E Academy recently participated in a two-day workshop on the ancient art of iconography that was led by visiting artists of the Epiphany Sacred Arts Guild, Vancouver.

The initiative was organised by Dr Azelina Flint, an Associate Researcher of Lancaster University, whose current outreach project connects local community groups with female iconographers to expand the representation of women in sacred ministries and worship spaces.  

Iconography is the oldest form of Christian sacred art and represents a religious figure looking out at viewers through a ‘window to eternity’. Historically, icons were produced in male monastic communities, but Dr Flint’s project provides female iconographers with networking and promotional opportunities that they lacked in the past.  

Patricia Ballard and Ana Maria Silva travelled from Vancouver for the event, which was funded by Lancaster University’s Impact Acceleration account. Both women are professionally trained artists with teaching backgrounds. They have exhibited their icons across the Vancouver Diocese with Ms Ballard receiving commissions from the archbishop.

The students, from Years 7-9, were given the opportunity to view rare icons from the collection at Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery, which is the largest in Britain after the V&A. On their visit to the museum, Ms Ballard said, “Diligent and focussed, the students saw firsthand original icons of the types which they had studied in class”.

The students then created their own icons, which were exhibited in the School Chapel and eventually donated to the students, along with the art materials. Speaking on the impact of the event, Art Teacher Mrs Haydock said, “This has been a privilege to work with talented artists and have the pupils of Saint Wilfrid’s experience such a rare and wonderful opportunity. We are humbled and grateful, and look forward to future opportunities for our talented Blackburn students.’’

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