Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 15, 2008
Nfld. Nativity display has a global accent
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS
St. John’s, N.L. — The Basilica Museum of St. John’s, N.L., is presenting a special display of 207 crèches, featuring nativity scenes from 55 countries and cultures.
Some of the crèches come from the museum’s permanent collection, while others have been loaned from private collections in Newfoundland and Labrador.
“Making representations of the Nativity is a universally popular art form which has flourished in Europe since the 16th century,” said a news release from the St. John’s Archdiocese.
The focal point, regardless of the language or culture, is the crib of the infant Jesus.
The collection shows them created from a range of materials from paper, cork, wood, straw, cloth, wool and rags, even Lego blocks, to more precious silver, coral and pearl, said the release.
The collection includes scenes from Africa, Asia and Latin America as well as Europe.
“Contemporary creations portray the newborn child with Joseph and Mary as a homeless family standing on a fishing wharf in Newfoundland, seeking refuge in an Innu community in Quebec, and huddled on the frozen tundra,” the release said.
The work of professional Newfoundland artists such as wood carvings by Kevin Coates, or pewter by Ray Cox sit beside a Nativity scene made of pipe cleaners made by an 11-year-old child.
New to the museum’s permanent collection are 10 handcrafted figures created by Carolyn Morgan and the late Brenda Row Bartlett.
These figures, made in 2000, feature hand-painted porcelain heads, adorned with wigs of Icelandic wool, on armatures made of wood and wire covered with clothing the artists designed and made.
The collection also features an internationally-recognized Peruvian nativity by Don Hilario and Georgina Mendivil.
Their work depicting a pregnant Virgin Mary or of the Virgin Mary breastfeeding “scandalized Peru’s more traditional sectors,” when it first appeared in the 1950s.
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