40,000 visit the Cathedral to gaze upon the earth

Credit: David Caird (Herald Sun)

Nearly 40,000 people have visited, attended services, enjoyed concerts and prayed under Luke Jerram’s stunning replica of Earth at St Paul’s Cathedral since it arrived in mid-April. The sculpture by the UK artist was officially launched on United Nations World Earth Day, April 22, with more than 8,000 people visiting over the first official weekend.

Measuring seven metres in diameter the artist named the sculpture Gaia after the mythical ‘mother earth’. The internally-lit sphere is 2.1 million times smaller than the real earth and has been recreated from 120dpi detailed NASA imagery. The 3D installation rotates once every four minutes, 360 times faster than our real planet and is accompanied by a specially-created composition by BAFTA Award-winning composer Dan Jones.

As well as giving visitors an opportunity to see our planet as if they were in space, the artwork also creates a sense of the Overview Effect, a common experience felt by astronauts of a feeling of awe for the planet and a renewed sense of responsibility for taking care of the environment.

The artwork has been brought to Australia by the Cathedral, as part of its commitment to advocate for greater action on climate change. This was the focus of the opening panel event ‘Fighting a Climate Emergency’, with leading experts and thinkers discussing what can be done to help mitigate a climate emergency. The Cathedral’s current sermon and teaching series, ‘Healing God’s Creation’, is also exploring what is required for the earth to be healed and our role in that.

The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Metropolis: The Lost. Credit: Laura Wilson.

During the display of Gaia, the Cathedral has hosted a number of concerts and special events, including the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s sell-out performance of Metropolis: The Lost. More special events are still to come including a book launch and Q&A with world-renowned agronomist Tony Rinaudo and a series of late-night openings. For more details on upcoming events, visit www.cathedral.org.au/Gaia

The Earth sculpture Gaia is on display until June 26. Entry is free and there is no need to book in advance (unless coming as part of a large group).

The exhibition is normally open Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm, and Saturdays from 10am to 4pm. Visitors are advised to check the Cathedral’s website before visiting as there are sometimes changes to opening hours due to the busy worship schedule of the Cathedral. For the latest details on opening times click here.

The Cathedral continues to be open for private devotion, with areas available for those wishing to light a candle or pray.