Illumination

ArtistMike Clay & Fiona Rutherford
Location: Shelters on platforms 1 and 2
Commission year2003 - 2014
Illumination artwork

This work was removed to allow for station refurbishment in 2014. A new temporary space for temporary commissions has been created and currently features a mixed-media work reflecting on aspects of Jarrow culture, featuring verse by Tom Kelly and images created by Mark Gibson and local people as part of a community project.

Bede Metro station is named after the priest and scholar the Venerable Bede who, in AD 680 at the age of seven, entered the twin monastery of St Peter and St Paul at Jarrow and Wearmouth where he lived and worked for the rest of his life.  He was one of the greatest scholars of the age, completing The Ecclesiastical History of the English People in AD 731. This ensured the historic significance of Jarrow as a site of Christian and cultural learning and investigation which is celebrated at Bede’s World, the Museum of Early Medieval Northumbria, a short distance from the Metro station.  The artists Mike Clay and Fiona Rutherford led a number of children's workshops in association with Bede’s World and distilled their drawings into the final designs for two vitreous enamel panel murals.

Motifs such as quills and crosses are incorporated into their compositions and the edges of the blocks of colour suggest the manuscript pages over which the eighth century monks would have laboured in the monastery’s scriptorium. ‘Illumination’, in its literal and metaphorical sense, is a contemporary response to the historical importance of Jarrow and the life of Bede the present illuminating the past.

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