My Ark for Nature

Jonathan Sainsbury’s exhibition ‘My Ark for Nature’ in St Andrew’s Cathedral, Inverness, ran from 2nd – 7th June 2017.  

Jonathan showed seventy five original paintings of wildlife and landscape of Scotland, in a pop-up wooden pavilion he built for the inaugural BBC Countryfile Event.   About a thousand visitors from 27 countries world-wide came to visit during that time.

Jonathan was present throughout the exhibition, demonstrating and talking with visitors. Besides paintings and drawings, there were limited edition prints and cards for sale, with material from Jonathan’s studio, poetry,  film of birds and free leaflets for visitors, given by conservation charities Songbird Survival, the British Dragonfly Society, RSPB.  

‘This is my virtual Ark, like Noah’s,’ explains Jonathan.   ”Ark’ means two things: the vessel in which Noah saved creatures from the flood and a container for something life-giving or precious.’.

‘I want to encourage humans to live carefully with Nature.  In this small space,the Lady Chapel of the Cathedral, I have assembled pictures of places and creatures that I care about.  I have tried to show how beautiful they are, how precious.  When you care about things, you want to protect them. You want others to love them too.’

Visitors were invited to write comments on paper leaves to hang on a bare tree at the entrance.  In this way, visitors participated in transforming a dead tree into one apparently coming to life with those same paper leaves.  

Analysing the comments, 47% of visitors mentioned the high quality of the paintings.  A third mentioned the positive affect of the exhibition, accompanied by the sound of birdsong, in its Cathedral setting. They remarked on the warm welcome they experienced and on the way this exhibition opened their eyes to Nature nourishing and comforting us, as we notice and care for it.  

A selection of visitors’ comments is shown below:

For all the amazing emotions and all the positive feelings you gave me.  Italy

Beautiful and very humbling.  Michigan US

We should love nature as our self

May this calmness and serenity spread all over the world.  India

Beautiful art which shows what we share with all things living

La nature est merveilleuse!  L’exposition est magnificent duns un lieu magnifique  Cerise sur le gateau nous avons eu de la musique.  Dieu est amore!  C’est un moment de grace!

Thank you for the love you’ve shown them all

Finding all these wonderful pictures reminds us of what it’s worth protecting: our one and only nature.  Berlin

Love will win over Hate   Manchester

Love all creatures great and small.  Thank you for all.  Blessings and balance.  Wisconsin, USA

Por todos los enfermos del mundo especial por los mas pequeños 

The barbarism and cruelty that exists in our world is brought into perspective in the quiet beauty of this place

To all the Cathedral staff and congregations, most especially to the Reverend Sarah Murray, Provost, and to Bishop Mark Strange, Jonathan extends heartfelt thanks.

St Andrew’s Cathedral is a Gothic masterpiece, built in 1886-9.  An imposing pink sandstone exterior leads to a warm interior, with its wooden ceiling, stained glass and carvings and a welcoming community.  For any enquiries about the Cathedral, click here