Skip to content

Search the Roberta Bondar Site

A Fresh Crèche

Red Deer, Alberta, Canada

A winged, interfaith figure welcomes viewers to consider marginalized youth, immigrants, refugees, and invite onlookers to consider issues of Inclusivity, Homelessness and, moving forward, Hope. This is Red Deer Lake United Church’s Nativity Scene as envisioned by artist Larry Stilwell for Rev Nick Coates’ challenge – make it ethnically appropriate and suggest how the scene might look today, in 2018.

Image of a nativity outside

Of his installation, visual artist Larry Stilwell says the life size characters look viewers “square in the eye”.

In its online statement, the church says that “by contemporizing some of the traditional imagery and by decolonizing some of the characters, the hope is to create a scene that sparks curiosity, engagement, and wonder, and causes people to hear that invitation and enter into this story in a new way.”

What caught our eye is Stilwell’s set of the modern international magi representing love and hope in a gift of music, healing and space exploration in a gift of knowledge, and warmth and teaching in a gift of blanket. The Three are the recognizable figures of singer-songwriter Michael Franti, scientist-neurologist Dr. Roberta Bondar, and AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde.

Check it out! Let Stilwell’s installation engage your imagination, too. Chacun à sa crèche!


December 14 2018
CalgaryHerald .com
Local church provides fresh and relevant take on the nativity scene

December 18 2018
Carolyn Kury de Castillo, GlobalNews .ca
Calgary nativity scene with new faces in manger meant to spark discussion

December 19 2018
Canadian Press via CBC .ca
Calgary church’s inclusive, cross-cultural nativity scene turns heads

December 19 2018
Brad MacLeod, CTVNews(Calgary) .ca
New Nativity