Flight 2 Hope
A FLIGHT of unity between the Abrahamic Faiths
Along with Professor Yossi Leshem, I (Mark Coreth) am leading the FLIGHT 2 HOPE through the Holy Land, a land full of history and so key to what is happening in the world today. The flight shall be an integral part of a sculpture that I have created in Jerusalem for the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital Group. The brief for the sculpture was to symbolise the history of Jerusalem, its people and to give a message of HOPE for the region. The sculpture is placed in the bulls eye of the Old City in their garden in Muristan where the Order has an eye clinic, a site that we shall visit.
I created an olive tree in bronze - The Tree of Hope. When you look out from Muristan over the city, you look towards the Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane and the magnificent golden dome of Temple Mount, the third most important Mosque in Islam. Just around the corner is the Western Wall of the Temple, the Wailing Wall, the most sacred site for the Jewish Faith and behind Muristan is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. My sculpture is placed in the epicentre of the Abrahamic Faiths in Jerusalem.
The olive tree was moulded from an ancient tree in Bethlehem and cast into bronze by an Israeli foundry in Netania, just south of Caesarea. The gnarled trunk of an old olive symbolises the City walls while the swifts symbolise the dynamic movement of people. Swifts nest and breed in the walls of the city and have been recorded as doing so from the times of the first Temple, way back in the depths of history. I was inspired by the spectacular yearly migration of swifts from Sub Saharan Africa, up through the Holy Land and into Europe and Asia. The swift is a master of the sky and dynamic in every respect. When you look up and see them screaming overhead they grab your attention. The first swift (or, indeed, swallow or House Martin) that one sees in spring is like a jolt of energy, hope for the summer days to come… and when they go on their remarkable migratory journey you look forward in hope of seeing them again. The picture below shows the abundant swift nesting sites in the Old City's Western Wall:
The sculpture was sponsored by Michael Dan, for the Order of St John, which in turn works for ALL people as clearly seen with the Muristan clinic. I had Jews, Christians and Muslims working together on the casting of the tree. It has become an important landmark for visitors to Jerusalem:
Taking the theme of the swift further, and thanks to the FRIENDS OF THE SWIFTS R.A. Association, we have placed specially designed swift nesting boxes around the garden and have attracted the live swifts thereby adding them to the sculpture. See a video here. When they migrate on their journey they will continue to spread the message of HOPE on their travels. I am placing swifts across the world often in groups of three. In this way, the swifts both live and in bronze are journeying out from the Tree of Hope, expanding its message dramatically and highlighting the good work that the Eye Hospital is doing in the Holy Land.