Bold new artwork installed at St Paul’s Cathedral

The installation has been unveiled today as part of the 50 Monuments in 50 Voices partnership.
A new artwork by Victor Ehikhamenor has been unveiled at St Paul’s Cathedral as part of the 50 Monuments in 50 Voices partnership (Aaron Chown/PA).

A new artwork by Victor Ehikhamenor has been unveiled at St Paul’s Cathedral as part of the 50 Monuments in 50 Voices partnership (Aaron Chown/PA).

By Connie Evans, PA Entertainment Reporter

St Paul’s Cathedral has unveiled a new installation by Nigerian-born artist Victor Ehikhamenor in the cathedral’s crypt.

The mixed-media piece, titled Still Standing, was specially commissioned as part of the 50 Monuments in 50 voices partnership between St Paul’s and the Department of History of Art at the University of York.

Ehikhamenor, 52, splits his time between Lagos, Nigeria, and Maryland in the United States, and is known for his use of multiple disciplines including painting, sculpture, photography, and works on paper.

Still Standing was created in response to a brass memorial panel to Admiral Sir Harry Holdsworth Rawson (1843-1910) installed in the Nelson Chamber of the Cathedral’s Crypt in 1913.

The new artwork titled Still Standing will be on display in the crypt until May 14 (Aaron Chown/PA).

The new artwork titled Still Standing will be on display in the crypt until May 14 (Aaron Chown/PA).

The artwork combines rosary beads and Benin bronze hip ornament masks to depict an Oba (King) of Benin, in recognition of the fact that Rawson had a long career in the Royal Navy, which culminated in his commanding the Benin Expedition of 1897.

The 50 Monuments in 50 Voices partnership launched in December 2021 to present a weekly series of audio, visual and musical works responding to the Cathedral’s monuments from 1796 to 1916.

Ehikhamenor explained the inspiration behind his work, saying: “History never sleeps nor slumbers. For me to be responding to the memorial brass of Admiral Sir Harry Holdsworth Rawson who led British troops in the sacking of the Benin Kingdom 125 years ago is a testament to this.

“The installation Still Standing was inspired by the resolute Oba Ovonramwen who was the reigning king of Benin Kingdom at the time of the expedition, but the artwork also memorialises the citizens and unknown gallant Benin soldiers who lost their lives in 1897 as well as the vibrant continuity of the kingdom till this day.”

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St Paul’s is one of London’s most recognisable landmarks and the cathedral church for the Diocese of London. It houses more than 200 monuments to significant figures throughout the ages.

Individuals represented on memorials around the cathedral include Admiral Nelson and Florence Nightingale.

The Dean of St Paul’s, the Very Reverend Dr David Ison, said: “When they visit St Paul’s, many people are struck by the vast number of monuments and memorials to past figures. The 50 Monuments in 50 Voices project invites responses to these memorials and the people they commemorate, from an array of different perspectives.

“As part of that project, the installation of Victor Ehikhamenor’s artwork contributes to the ongoing task of understanding the complexities of these monuments in 21st century Britain.”

Still Standing will be on display in the crypt at St Paul’s Cathedral until May 14 2022.


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