The company which brought David Best’s acclaimed ‘Temple’ to Derry has dismissed claims the art project is “satanic”
Standing 20 metres tall, the intricately carved wooden structure has become a focal point in the city’s Waterside.
The public is being encouraged to explore it and leave their own messages, mementos or objects inside its walls, before it, too, is ceremonially ‘burned’ on Saturday evening.
Earlier this week, Presbyterian Minister Reverend Graeme Orr, based in Magheramason, said in an email circulated with other clergy that he was “very concerned” about the ‘Temple’ event.
Reverend Orr said: “I believe this temple burning practice is pagan in origin. Paganism often leads to the occult, which is spiritually Satanic in nature and, according to the Bible, should be avoided at all costs.
“Paganism leads to hedonism and self-indulgence, some of which I have described have become part and parcel of these burning festivals.”
But, Helen Marriage, director of Artichoke, the company which produced the event, said that, “outside the narrow theological doctrine, this is clearly not anything evil, it is clearly a platform for people to express their own humanity, their own feelings of grief, joy or love or loss and it is hard to see anything satanic about it.”
“It seems to me to be a moment in the city’s life where people who have a lot of pent-up pain or anger or hope expressing it publicly. It is a monument to the city and its shared future.”
Thousands of people have been visiting the Corrody Road site where the 70-foot carved tower has been built and many are leaving personal messages inside the structure.
Around 15,000 people are expected to watch the burning of the tower on Saturday evening.