Cathedral of Suffering
Cathedral of Suffering

Cathedral of Suffering

January 16 th 2009
Cathedral of Suffering

Project description:

This piece was designed around the work of Amnesty International and with observance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in mind. It is an indictment against repression and violence.

The monument

The monument consists of five pillars, the tallest of which is 5 meters tall. Three human figures are mounted on the pillars.
One pillar carries a mourning woman.
One pillar carries a crouching child protecting its head.
Between two other pillars, a male figure hangs in a position that is often used in practices of torture.
The fifth pillar is empty.
The five pillars are arranged so that they enclose a space, creating a world apart.
The figures give the viewer an experience of the isolation and vulnerability of these suffering people.
The empty pillar suggests that someone has just died, or that it has been prepared for the next victim. It is perhaps the most confrontational and poignant of the piece.

This piece has been used by various groups including Amnesty International as a travelling monument for demonstrations and commemorations for World War II. Wikstrom's hope is that it can be given a permanent place to remind us of our human rights, and to protest against violation of them.

Artist's Statement

This sculpture is about human suffering.
Suffering inflicted upon others by a person or a group.
It is about violence.
It speaks of war and terrorism.
It speaks of racism,
Religious intolerance and persecution.
Child abuse.
This monument speaks of starvation in a world of great wealth.
Of torture refined to an art in the 20th century.
It speaks about our passivity, allowing these things to go on.
And on . . .

Topics: Arts Justice
Britt Wikström
Britt Wikström

Born in Sweden, Britt Wikström studied sculpture for three years in Munich, Germany at the Akademie für Bildende Kunst, graduated in the Netherlands after five years at the Academie voor Beeldende Kunst, Rotterdam and completed three years of postgraduate study at the Rijksacademie in Amsterdam, where she was awarded a prize in recognition of her work. Britt has participated in solo and group exhibitions in Stockholm, Sweden, Aspen and Denver, Colorado, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Norfolk, England as well as in several cities in her resident country, The Netherlands.


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