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‘Aids to Devotion’ an exhibition throughout August by Sister Theresa Margaret

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During August the Community of the Holy Name in Oakwood celebrates the 150th Anniversary of its foundation. As part of the celebration the Sir Richard Morris Lounge in Derby Cathedral Centre is hosting a display of icons by one of the Community’s long serving members, Sister Theresa Margaret. Under the title ‘Aids to Devotion’ a selection of her work will illustrate the way in which she has used her training as an artist in the service of God.

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Sister Theresa Margaret studied painting in Edinburgh and art history under Professor David Talbot Rice, a pioneer in the scholarly study of Byzantine art. She joined the Community of the Holy Name in 1959 and later spent 20 years as a solitary in North Wales. On returning to the Convent it was natural for her to start painting again both as an outcome of prayer and as an aid to it.

Most of her work has been undertaken in response to particular commissions and is therefore not available for us to see, however some examples of her art adorn the walls of the Convent Library and these have served as the source for this exhibition. Sister Theresa Margaret uses the traditional techniques of the Byzantine icon painter, using egg tempera on a gesso covered wood panel with gilding to highlight important features. Some of her icons follow the traditional iconography of the Eastern Orthodox Church which was formalised in the sixteenth century and remains in force to this day. They are not slavish copies but take the traditional patterns and make them new in striking ways. At other times she takes the shape and size of the piece of wood and allows it to direct the painting, she has also taken themes which are not directly related to the Orthodox tradition but express her own spiritual quest. As she says, ‘One of the Eastern Fathers said that a picture becomes an icon when it is prayed with and that is what icons are for.’

The exhibition will open on Saturday 1st August and continue until Friday 28th August, Monday to Saturday 9am to 5pm, closed Sundays.

For further information contact the Exhibitions Officer, Geoff Robson , e-mail: robson.geoff@btinternet.com

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