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See the incredible Gaia installation - a 7m replica of planet Earth - at Ely Cathedral



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This is the incredible Gaia installation on display at Ely Cathedral throughout July.

The seven-metre replica of planet Earth was created by Luke Jerram, and is suspended from high above.

Gaia is on display at Ely Cathedral throughout July. Picture: Keith Heppell
Gaia is on display at Ely Cathedral throughout July. Picture: Keith Heppell

The globally-acclaimed artwork, which is touring, was created from 120dpi images from NASA of the Earth’s surface.

Enabling visitors to examine the planet, floating in three dimensions, the artwork aims to create a sense of the ‘Overview Effect’ described by author Frank White in 1987. This is a shift in awareness experienced by some astronauts, who get a feeling of awe for the planet and an understanding of the interconnection of all life, along with a renewed sense of responsibility for taking care of the environment.

Gaia at Ely Cathedral. Picture: Keith Heppell
Gaia at Ely Cathedral. Picture: Keith Heppell

The artist says the work also acts as a mirror to major events in society.

Viewed in the light of the pandemic, it offers a perspective on our place on the planet and a sense of our responsibility to other societies around the world. Lockdown, of course, has already inspired a renewed respect of the value of nature for many.

Alongside the sculpture is played a surround sound composition by BAFTA-winning composer Dan Jones.

Gaia at Ely Cathedral. Picture: Keith Heppell
Gaia at Ely Cathedral. Picture: Keith Heppell

And it is named - like the space observatory that was originally conceived by Cambridge astronomers - after Gaia from Greek mythology, who personified Earth.

The artist said: “I'm hoping when people come and see this Earth artwork, they will realise the beauty and fragility of our planet and, actually, it is our only home and we really have to look after it.”

The installation is sponsored by the Friends of Ely Cathedral.

Tickets to view Gaia at Ely Cathedral can be booked online at https://www.elycathedral.org/tickets/visitor.

Ely Cathedral is hosting a series of events titled ‘Heaven & Earth - The World in Our Hands’ to coincide with the installation.

Jocelyn Palmer, from Ely Cathedral, with Gaia. Picture: Keith Heppell
Jocelyn Palmer, from Ely Cathedral, with Gaia. Picture: Keith Heppell

A spokesperson said: “We hope that Heaven & Earth - The World in Our Hands will raise awareness, educate and inspire us all to protect our world. This event will feature exhibits with a focus on climate change plus talks on environmental issues.”

Events include:

  • Friday July 2, 1.30pm - Healing Herbs Workshop: by Katie from Wild Oak Workshops. Plant up your own kitchen herb garden with delicious herbs to invigorate you. Tickets: £60 per person. Visit the cathedral website for details.
  • Saturday 31 July, 9.30am - Ely Cathedral Green Fair: The inaugural Green Fair will showcase eco-friendly stalls selling home-made, locally produced artisan products, plus vegan specialities, local beers and ciders. Discover more about local environmental groups and how you can support them. It promises to be a fun family eco-event for everyone to enjoy, on Cross Green, next to the cathedral - free entry.

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