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Compline: Divided Selves

17 May 2023 8:00pm to 9:00pm
Location Lady Chapel
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“My friend, come every night I am terribly lonely. -Professor G.N. Saibaba, Anda maximum security cell, India, 2017”

In this busy world, slow down at Compline which marks our final prayer of the day. Join our gentle, candlelit service, for quietness and reflections after a long day. Come and immerse yourself in beautiful singing performed by our Lay Clerks. This time compline will be touching upon the subject of the divided selves exhibition.

Divided Selves explores notions of belonging and living together at a time when the idea of nation is under stress, threatened by challenges ranging from populism to armed conflict.

Held at a time where the politics of identity have been weaponised for political gain, and divisiveness is rewarded in likes, followers and votes, it presents the work of artists exploring how we: make peace with difficult histories and traumatic pasts, listen to and amplify voices that are often ignored or suppressed and work as citizens of a state, and members of a community, to shape a common future.

Sofia Karim is an architect, artist and activist based in London. Her activism focuses on human rights across Bangladesh and India. She campaigns for the release of political prisoners. In September 2022, Karim attended a meeting at the Herbert Museum and Gallery to discuss a forthcoming exhibition of her work. Whilst there she visited Coventry Cathedral, the architectural masterpiece she had read so much about but never seen. Upon entering she had a visceral reaction to the space. She felt a charge, a resonance - that profound connection with human suffering which architecture can sometimes have. Trusting this feeling, she asked the Herbert Museum if a service could be held at the Cathedral for the prisoners she campaigns for. The Museum spoke to the Cathedral and that is how the 17th May Night Prayer (Compline) service came about. The service is dedicated to the BK16 prisoners in India, one of whom, 84-year-old Jesuit priest and tribal activist Father Stan Swamy, died in custody in July 2021.

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