Artist Nicholas Mynheer is working on a striking new larger-than-life-size sculpture of Mary and the Christ-child. The finished piece will be the centrepiece of the current refurbishment work at St Mary’s Convent in Wantage. The design depicts a working mother holding up her infant son. 

But where does inspiration come from for Nicholas’ religious work?

“It’s a difficult question. I don’t really know,” he says. “It would be easy to say the Bible but I do this without thinking. I can’t explain how I breath and this is exactly the same. I just do it and I’m most happy when I’m doing things that express some of my understanding of God in creation.”

Nicholas doesn’t think of his work as being specifically evangelistic. “I really like the idea that people can see elements of their own life in the work. When I carve a mother and child, it is in a sense any mother and child. I’d like to think that any young woman looking at this sculpture will identify herself with Mary.”

One of the elements of the commission was that the figure should be that of a working mother. “This isn’t some haughty, distant, historic character,” says Nicholas. “This is a living, working mother. There’s a real a sense of rolled-up sleeves, which I actually rather like.”  

The completed sculpture will be put in place at the Convent in late summer, in time for the opening of the refurbished Convent buildings.