Head to Head with a Tough Subject-The Crucifixion of Our World

I had a burning desire to carve a life-sized Jesus in wood, not only to see how hard it actually was, but because I felt that this awful depiction of ultimate human cruelty was just right to implore people to really think what they/WE are doing to our peoples of the world and our planet as a whole.

The Universe will carry on without us there is no doubt, but why should we human beings with our large brains and huge capabilities be so greedy, uncaring and thoughtless when it comes to our home, the Earth and our fellow humans, in their great and beautiful diversity.

My heart broke when I saw the body of a small boy washed up on a Greek beach.  How can this be?  The Mediterranean, a holiday destination, has unbelievably become the grave of many fleeing war.

Our world, because of our self-indulgent practises is beset by climate change causing the melting of the icecaps and floods, fires, famine.  We pollute our skies, suffocate our earth and sea with plastic; we tear up the ocean floor in the pursuit of emptying the sea of fish, taking more than we need, causing even more environmental upset.

We are losing our biodiversity; bees are dying and without those small friends human beings will suffer a slow decline and death.The butterfly wing effect is cataclysmic, and the pandemic is onlt one symptom of our worsening decline.


The Christ figure in natural wood tones which will darken with age is juxtaposed with the super bright paint of the background.  Painted with ground pigments and a parchment glue size which echoes the cathedral paintings of old in its medium and its brightness, not only depicts the plight of the refugees, but goes on then, around the central diptych, to describe the ‘stations or crucifixions of the world’.

This piece was displayed in Exeter Cathedral in June 2021 where the then HRH Prince Charles and Duchess of Cornwall accompanied by H.M Lord Lieutenant of Devon with his wife Lady C.Fursdon saw it.The Right Worshipful the Lord Mayor of Exeter (Councillor Trish Oliver) said “Art, or course, can disturb; and none more so than carved Christ against a background of contemporary crucifixions of humanity. When I return I will spend some time before it in contemplation and challenge”.
“Thanks Isabel- it was a delight to meet you and to see some of your work.  HRH would be delighted to hear your story. I will see if I can tell him one day!”  Here, David Fursdon, H.M Lord Lieutenant of Devon, was alluding to the fact that I told him I had received a grant from the Prince’s Trust which helped enormously for me to realise my dream to learn woodcarving.  I am forever grateful, as are many young people who have received this invaluable support.

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