Why a memorial installation of leaves in Sheffield Cathedral represents hope

Sheffield Cathedral is honouring those who have passed away during the pandemic and allowing people to reflect on the past months, with a memorial installation of 5,000 steel leaves.

Thursday, 29th October 2020, 9:23 am

‘The Leaves of the Trees’ is an installation by Peter Walker - a sculptor and artist - which is touring around different towns and cities in the country.

Each leaf has the word HOPE written on it and symbolises the past and what has transpired - they are shaped as sycamore maple leaves as these leaves symbolises strength, protection, eternity and clarity.

The Revd Canon Keith Farrow, Vice Dean, said: “Sheffield Cathedral has long been a place of remembrance and over the years many people have found comfort and hope in this place.

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Keith Farrow, Vice Dean of Sheffield Cathedral, takes a closer look at the art installation.

We are sure that the ‘Leaves of the Trees’ installation will be another symbol of remembrance in these days when so many have been affected by the Coronavirus.”

The leaves - made of steel to represent resilience and collective strength - have been laid out on the steps of St George’s Chapel down into the Nave, as though naturally scattered by the wind.

As the installation tours the country, the steel will rust and change colour, just as real leaves do when they fall.

Peter Walker said: “Bringing this artwork of 5000 steel leaves to the “Steel City” creates an extra level of meaning and poignancy. I came up with the idea for a reflective memorial early on within lockdown, however an extensive discussion with Canon Keith Farrow from Sheffield a few months ago helped to forge the sentiment and bring it to fruition. It is therefore fitting that as one of its exhibition venues around the UK the artwork is shown within this remarkable Cathedral.”

Each leaf has the word HOPE written on it and symbolises the past and what has transpired.

A special presentation was held on Sunday in which the High Sheriff of South Yorkshire, Mrs Carol O’Neil; the Lord Mayor, Tony Downing; the Acting Dean, Rev Canon Geoffrey Harbord; and the Vice Dean and Canon Missioner, Rev Canon Keith Farrow, were present.

Anyone wanting to see the ‘Leaves of the Trees’ at Sheffield Cathedral has until October 29 to do so.

The installation is open during normal Cathedral opening hours and admission is free.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.

The Revd Canon Keith Farrow, Vice Dean of Sheffield Cathedral, pictured by The Leaves of the Trees art installation.
The leaves have been laid out on the steps of St George’s Chapel down into the Nave, as though naturally scattered by the wind.
Gift of Hope being presented to the city on Sunday. Pictured: High Sheriff of South Yorkshire, Mrs Carol O’Neil; the Lord Mayor, Tony Downing; the Acting Dean, Rev Canon Geoffrey Harbord; and the Vice Dean and Canon Missioner, Rev Canon Keith Farrow.
The Leaves of the Trees art installation at Sheffield Cathedral.