At sunset on Saturday, thousands watched as Sanctuary ceremonially set alight in a moment of catharsis for the local community of Warwickshire and the entire country.
We would like to thank everyone who visited Sanctuary last week (21 – 27 May 2022) and adorned the walls with messages, mementos and photos in tribute to those they have lost, and those who joined us for the spectacular finale on Saturday 28 May 2022. If you visited, please let us know what you thought here. We would also like to share our gratitude with our incredible supporters, participants and crew – Sanctuary wouldn’t have been possible without you
Thousands of people have visited the monument in the Miners’ Welfare Park in Bedworth during the week and left messages and mementos to those they have lost. Ten thousand more came to watch it burn in a cathartic moment of rebirth, recovery and regeneration.
Designed by American artist David Best and built together with his crew and more than 500 individuals from local schools and community groups, Sanctuary was created in tribute to the power of public art to provide solace during difficult times. Watch our behind-the-scenes film here for an insight into the craftsmanship and passion that went into the build.
A group of seven torch bearers were specially selected to set the structure alight: The Very Reverend John Whitcombe, Dean of Coventry; Becky a local artist and musician who had worked on the build; Colin, a member of the local biker community who visited the project; Matt and Pete, members from the RSC Carpentry workshop who built the frame; Gary from Derry and Helen Marriage Director of Artichoke.
Thousands of people have visited the monument in the Miners’ Welfare Park in Bedworth during the previous week 21-27 May and left messages and mementos to those they have lost. Ten thousand more came to watch it burn in a cathartic moment of rebirth, recovery and regeneration.
Conceived of by producers Artichoke as the third in their series of memorial projects with David Best, local people worked with the artist and his team to build the monumental and intricately decorative structure, typical of those he often builds at the Burning Man festival.
We’re delighted to share the news that the success of Sanctuary in Bedworth and Nuneaton led to David and his team being awarded special recognition by the borough council for services to the community, presented on Saturday afternoon by Mayor of Bedworth & Nuneaton, Cllr Jeff Clarke.
David Best, Sanctuary artist says: “Sanctuary was a memorial to those lost to Covid. But it was more than that. It was a space to hold grief and loss whatever that might be. People ask why burn something so beautiful? I say, it takes something beautiful to hold all that emotion. My hope is that Sanctuary might help people heal and that we can create a little bit of warmth in a cold, dark situation.”
Helen Marriage, CEO and Artistic Director of Artichoke, says: “Sanctuary was conceived in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic. We wanted to mark the nation’s losses in an everyday place with everyday people going about their daily lives. The thousands of visitors who have streamed into the memorial and left messages and the thousands more who came to watch it burn tonight have shown how necessary it was and how much people wanted a national memorial to embrace and acknowledge the grief and isolation that Covid imposed on us all. Thank you to Nuneaton & Bedworth Council and Warwickshire County Council for having the vision to support Sanctuary, and to the RSC and all our many supporters and funders, without whom Sanctuary would not have happened.”
Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council leader Cllr Kristofer Wilson says: “Bedworth is rightly known as the Town that never forgets. To be able to showcase Bedworth on the national and international stage is truly phenomenal. This monument has moved literally thousands of people from Bedworth and beyond, and the very personal messages left by visitors speak direct from the heart. This event has also brought much needed investment into our town, with over 70% of all spend being with local traders, businesses and apprentices. Three apprentices have been offered a job as a direct result of their work on this project. Sanctuary is an economic and social boost to our town, and I’m proud that we have showed the best of our community.”