Artwork installation by William Pettit (MA Fine Art - Hereford College of Arts) | Friday 2 June - Monday 12 June

The Tower of Babel story in Genesis tells of God becoming concerned that the tower men were building could reach Heaven. So, He makes the construction impossible by giving everyone a different language before scattering them across the whole world.

Working closely with Hereford Cathedral and its Reading Room Library, William has created a metal-framed sculpture featuring non-sensical architectural blueprints using the cyanotype process. Some of these show geometric patterns found in the construction of religious buildings, whilst others mix astrology and science.

Amongst this (con)fusion of blue, one might discover peculiar symbols hidden within them. William has included four separate languages:

  • Ancient Minoan
  • A futuristic text by the artist
  • Utopian - found in Thomas More’s fictional book Utopia (pub. 1516)
  • An indexing system used by Robert Grosseteste – a 12th century philosopher and scientist with connections to Hereford Cathedral

William alludes to the ever-changing nature of language and that given specific circumstances can lose meaning. The result is a perplexing mass of ‘information’ that one might catch brief snippets of understanding but never see the whole picture. William attempts to put the viewer in the same position as the original builders.

This artwork will be on display in the South Transept until Monday 12 June, during normal opening hours. No admission fee. 

Artist Bio:

William is from Malvern, Worcestershire. After a long stint working in retail, he decided upon a career change and eagerly signed up for a three-year degree at Hereford College of Arts to study photography. He graduated in 2020 with a first class and won the College’s Photobox Award with his project on HS2.

Outside of the College, William has also exhibited his photography at h.Art, Photospace in Ludlow, and in Hereford city centre as part of the Ferrous Festival in 2019.

In 2022, William decided to take on a new challenge by enrolling on the MA Fine Art degree at HCA, his idea being to learn more skills that he could add to his existing photography practice. On top of photography, William now spends his time as a painter and sculptor. This exhibition at Hereford Cathedral is his first non-photographic exhibition.


Email: [email protected]

Instagram: @wkpettit