A bit of background: The Stations of the Cross dates back to the pilgrim trail through Jerusalem (probably during the 1400s), in which the faithful would retrace the traditional route that Jesus took on his journey to death. The pilgrims would pause for reflection at significant sites. These 'stations' (usually 14 of them) were transplanted back to Europe and recreated in various forms and places so that the faithful could make the same observances without travelling to Jerusalem.
In Europe (and subsequently other parts of the world), these stations were given artistic representations. Historically, these exist as a fine example of Christian art.
I'm not sure of the contemporary history of utilising the stations globally, but in New Zealand the practice was reinvigorated in 1998 (and in subsequent years) by Mark Pierson at Cityside Baptist Church in Auckland. In this context, the stations became an annual and serious art happening that drew a certain amount of mainstream attention. Artists from the Cityside community were each given a station to interpret as they saw fit. Cityside's exhibition became an impressive and immersive experience, and the concept was picked up by other groups around New Zealand - perhaps most notably by Peter Majendie in Christchurch and Dave White in Hamilton.
On a smaller scale, the concept of the stations of the cross being used as an opportunity for artistic expression at Easter has been picked by Christian communities around the country, and has almost certainly played a part in contemporary Christianity rediscovering and more actively engaging in the visual arts.
Which brings us to a couple of consecutive Sundays in April 2012, and to St Luke's - a little church in Mount Maunganui that meets in rugby clubrooms.
Station 14: Jesus is laid in the tomb
I've been wanting do some model-making for a while now. It seems like a logical interpretation of my safe little world concept. So I seized the opportunity to do a fairly literal piece for Station 14.
I collected materials from around the place: an unbelievably beautiful stone from the beach at Kaiaua on the Firth of Thames, a square of MDF board from the Seagull Store at the Thames dump, some chicken wire mesh, some two dollar shop poster paints, some newspaper, PVA, some dirt and some special model-making 'grass' from the model shop. The piece was further sparked by a little wooden life drawing posable model that I discovered by accident at AJ's Emporium. When wrapped in crepe bandage, the model became the body.
The final piece was interactive. The viewer was able place the figure into the tomb, feel the weight of the stone and then place it over the mouth of the tomb to seal it up.
Baseboard dimensions: 570 x 510mm
And here are some progress shots...