The Tapestry of Light: A 21st-Century Apocalypse

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About the Exhibition

Developed over the course of nearly twenty years, The Tapestry of Light is the first full-visual interpretation of John’s Apocalypse in tapestry form in over 500 years, and the first known to be by a woman. Inspired by the Angers Apocalypse Tapestry in France, Dr. Irene Barberis set out on a journey to explore apocalyptic art, specifically focusing on themes of theology, revelation and light. Her goal was to highlight the effects of light as a process of revelation that is both seen and experienced, reflecting medieval ideas of illumination as a means of “illuminating” the soul.

Dr. Barberis collaborated with Professor Michelle P. Brown, former curator of illuminated manuscripts at the British Library, and Professor David Mainwaring, a scientist and colleague at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. The Tapestry of Light is the result of this collaboration. It features a series of images created by Barberis, assisted in interpretation by Brown, using new nanotechnology invented by Mainwaring. First displayed in 2017 in the chancel of the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula in Brussels, Belgium, this magnificent artwork was later displayed in the Chapter House of Canterbury Cathedral in the United Kingdom. Its exhibition at Museum of the Bible will be the first time the tapestry has been shown in the United States.

The exhibition displays the artist’s creative process over the course of nearly twenty years, discusses her vision and development of the materials, and explores deeper themes, including how art is used to explain complex ideas, the revelatory qualities of light, the concept of weaving and its relation to women and the themes of the Apocalypse as a means of conveying hope to a new generation.

Experience Details

July 6, 2019 - May 5, 2020

Past Exhibition

Located on Floor B1

Included with Admission

Dr. Irene Barberis

Professor David Mainwaring

This project has taken nearly twenty years to bring to fruition, but here it is; the words and images of the Apocalypse, or Revelation, lifted up for all to see in both art and science. How wonder-full.
Irene Barberis
This unique and innovative artwork—a tapestry of epic proportions which is itself the source of light — brings together two long-lived themes in art and theology: the end of days and the revelatory new creation, coupled with the power of light and luminosity. This is achieved by artistic vision, reference to images from past, present and future and by the application to art of exciting new nanotechnology. The Tapestry is a female response to a hard-hitting biblical theme and to contemporary challenges facing the world. It is a moving and thought-provoking spiritual and aesthetic experience.
Michelle Brown