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Talking Chairs

‘I will learn to sit with you and I will learn to listen’

Visual arts duo Gardner & Gardner created the temporary installation ‘I will learn to sit with you and I will learn to listen’ in the Blackadder Aisle of Glasgow Cathedral for the duration of COP26. 122 redundant rush-seated chairs were arranged in pairs, jumbled and chaotic, symbolising the inequality of many power relationships and conversations. At the front, rewoven in vibrant yellow and perfectly spaced for conversation, two chairs faced one another in expectation.

Rev Muriel Pearson, Associate Minister at St Andrew’s Jerusalem and Tiberias happened to remark to the artists that the space between the chairs spoke to her about her hopes for her new ministry. In her work with the congregation, with the Scots’ Hotel and Guesthouse, with Tabeetha School and with partners, Muriel hopes to facilitate conversation that will deepen understanding, celebrate difference and help forge bonds of common purpose for peace.

A week later, Peter Gardner phoned to offer two of the yellow chairs as a gift. Thanks to the generosity of The Friends these chairs accompanied Muriel to Israel.

They are used to provoke comment and conversation and continue to give life to the artwork.

Muriel commented, ‘it’s great to have a symbol both to help me and to open conversation with others. I’m thrilled with the possibilities this gift brings.’


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