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Ely Catherdral


Banksy Grappling Hook 2017 (Bonhams)

An extraordinary art work by the renowned street artist, Banksy, will be on temporary display in Ely Cathedral during the summer months. The Grappling Hook (2017) is an original piece signed by the artist, and is presented in the form of a large crucifix with 3 steel grapples and over 4 metre length of knotted rope.

The 'Grappling Hook' is widely acknowledged as one of the most iconic pieces to emerge from Banksy's Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem and is known to have been created as a powerful statement highlighting the struggles surrounding the West Bank and the division of the two most holy cities in Christianity.

Banksy refers to the piece as a "military grade grappling hook and combined spiritual ornament". As well as the Grappling Hook, the specially created hand sprayed box will also be on display. It has been described as arresting, moving and polemic and ranks alongside the artist's most significant works.

As controversial as it may seem for a Cathedral to be displaying such work, Mark Bonney, Dean of Ely commented - "The Cathedral provides a wonderful backdrop for art and sculpture. Obviously there are strong statements associated with many of Bansky's works, and we hope many will come to see this piece and draw their own interpretation and meaning from it. We are not displaying it to create any political statement, although it is borne out of very troubled political situation - but we cannot either escape the fact that Jesus' crucifixion had a very strong political element to it too. I think this work will create a particular presence and challenge in a building devoted to the Christian faith".

The Grappling Hook has been kindly loaned to the Cathedral by a specialist collector who wishes to remain anonymous and will be in situ from mid-July until the end of September.


About Ely Cathedral

Highly regarded by historians and architects from all over the world for its beauty and size, Ely Cathedral is widely acknowledged as 'one of the wonders of the Medieval world'. Visible for miles around, the Cathedral is often referred to as 'The Ship of the Fens'.

The present building dates from 1081 and is a remarkable example of both Romanesque and Norman architecture. In addition to its unique Octagon Tower and magnificent Lady Chapel, Ely has the third longest nave of any UK Cathedral. The Cathedral's role today is not so far removed from its days as a Benedictine monastery and offers regular daily worship with a special emphasis on choral music. It still maintains a resident choir of 22 choristers and 6 lay clerks and so continues the tradition of choral evensong every day of the week during term time.

As well as being a major visitor attraction, the Cathedral serves as a cultural focal point for East Anglia by providing a unique venue for the arts and music, for exhibitions, concerts and theatre. Most recently Ely has gained global recognition a prominent film location including Elizabeth: The Golden Age, The Other Boleyn Girl, Macbeth, The King's Speech and The Crown.