Forsaken by Philip Wharton

Forsaken by Philip Wharton

Todays reflection on Belonging is from artist Philip Wharton.

“Where do I belong? Wow, what a soul searching question.  I’ve always been a singular person. And seen myself more of a purpose. So I belong to a purpose. To help make things right. I know exactly where this need stems from. My early childhood. Challenging times for my mother trying to make ends meet for myself, my sister and lastly, herself. My mother always put herself last. And us first. As a child I have been present to many  challenging hard times that my mother shielded us from. 

We came first.  And my belonging comes first. And I come last. 

But as I get older, I’m so tired, and question my belonging. A piece that documents this crisis is entitled, Forsaken taken from Psalm 22 that is currently being exhibited in Manchester Cathedral over Lent.

The artist statement reads:

In 2017 I hit a bit of a crossroads in my way of thinking. Maybe even felt a little forsaken?

You see, I’ve always been a bit of a volunteer. I can’t help it. It’s my arm. It automatically goes up on hearing “Can anybody help?” But I was beginning to doubt if my efforts really mattered. It seemed people didn’t want help, they wanted serving.

Is it really worthwhile continuing as I do? Or should I fall in line, driven by shallow trends, Facebook cruci-fictions and whiney banter. Oblivious to the little kind deed we are party to each day. And dismissing the purveyor like a servant!

Whilst discussing this with a friend, Paul, I asked, why do we bother? He paused, then in a shrugged tone said “It’s what we do!“

That simple little statement instantly held such clarity and reverence for me.

It’s what we do.


Then I got to thinking, I bet nobody has felt more forsaken than this guy on the cross. Yet throughout all the suffering, his message was not one of revenge, but of forgiveness.

In this gesture, I have tried to capture that forgiveness amidst all that suffering. Personally reflecting either forsaken or saviour depending on personal standing.

The polished pewter head of the nail is meant to symbolise a gift of reflection. The base with its aged cross texture is meant to symbolise a gift, Scriptures, crossroads and cross. The pewter section between base and arm is meant to symbolise a holy relic of the past but bears no anatomical reference.

During the modelling of this piece, I also had for reference a photograph of a falling swans feather. This swans feather with its turned up corners held such gentle grace in its fall. And It is this gentle grace and delicate colour I have tried to capture here also.

For all you out there today who takes one for the team and is simply brushed off. You are not alone.

It’s like my friend said. It’s what we do.


Forsaken: Resin, Wood and pewter on Wood.

Philips art work is currently on display at Manchester Cathedral. Click HERE to learn more about his work.