Before I Die . . . Art Installation

Before I Die . . . Art Installation
February 28, 2017 8:00 am
April 9, 2017 5:00 pm
Cathedral Gates

Participatory Art Installation Provides Opportunity for Reflection

By the Rev. Genevieve Razim

While grieving for a loved one, artist Candy Chang bought an abandoned house in New Orleans. She covered the sides with ply-board, painted them with chalkboard paint, and then stenciled row after row of the following prompt:

“Before I die I want to…__________________.”

She set out baskets of colored chalk and walked away. Soon the boards filled up with hundreds, and then thousands of responses scrawled in chalk: Before I die I want to… see my daughter graduate, abandon all insecurities, get my wife back, eat all the candy and sushi in the world, be a Youtube sensation, straddle the International Date Line, tell my mother I love her, be completely myself.

Many years later, over 1,000 Before I Die walls have been created in over 35 languages and over 70 countries, including Kazakhstan, Iraq, Haiti, China, Ukraine, Portugal, Japan, Denmark, Argentina, and South Africa.

With permission from the artist, Christ Church Cathedral has created a Before I Die wall for Lent. Installed on the Texas Avenue Bishop’s Garden gate for the season of Lent, parishioners and passersby are invited to reflect on their mortality and then respond by adding their hopes and aspirations to the wall.

This participatory artwork provides an opportunity for self-reflection fitting for Lent and creates another meaningful way to connect with our downtown neighbors and residents.

The Before I Die wall opened to the public on Shrove Tuesday, Feb. 28, and will remain up until Palm Sunday, April 9.

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