About the being Human exhibition

This exhibition explores what it means to be human. Reflecting on what makes us who we are, Being Human has been devised by artist and sculptor, Peter Walker.

The exhibition is made up of four parts:

While you are visiting the Being Human exhibition at Liverpool Cathedral, you’ll have the opportunity to use these four artworks to explore:

  • What does it mean to be human?
  • Who am I?
  • Who are we?
  • What does it mean to be an individual and have relationships with others in our changing world?


This large-scale sculpture of two hands symbolises our connection to each other. The hands, each measuring two metres high, are the leading part of this series of artworks that make up the Being Human Exhibition.

We commissioned Peter Walker to produce the artwork. Inspired by the part of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling masterpiece, the ‘Creation of Adam’ where God’s hand reaches out to meet Adam’s finger. Peter based his concept on this classic story but gave it a modern twist.

Like the painting by Michelangelo, there is a gap between two fingers as they reach toward each other, signifying that the most important moment in human history is about to happen as God reaches out to the first human.

The hands positioned together cover 9.5 metres wide of our floor space, including the gap between them.

Peter believes that the gap between the hands in Michelangelo's ‘Creation of Adam’ represents faith. He wants to use the space between the hands to highlight the distance and isolation felt by people when they are apart. For example, many people experienced these feelings during the pandemic.

Peter has purposefully taken a contemporary interpretation, moving away from past traditional narratives by using female hands rather than male hands which you can use as a discussion point. 

This sculpture emphasises how important human contact is and what being with other people means to us. It also represents individual and personal questions we may have and which we confront through taking steps forward.

Stand between two giant hands. Take a photo as you wonder at the sheer scale and vastness of the space they occupy. You can connect to each hand by standing in between the two.

You can interpret the sculpture in many ways. Peter hopes the Connection sculpture inspires you to reach out to people in your own community.


Ever imagined walking into an artist’s studio and exploring where creativity begins?

Peter Walker has created an artist’s studio with elements of his work and some tools of his trade. Explore where the very first ideas are sketched on paper on the artist’s drawing table; to the space beyond where the artwork emerges, transformed from the artist’s imagination to the sculptures, paintings, and drawings you see in the Cathedral’s space.

As you walk through this space and observe the final artworks on display ask you may wish to act yourself:

  • What do you think the artist was thinking when they were created?
  • What do you think they mean?
  • How do they make you feel?

Creativity Artworks

The artworks you can see in Creativity cover a range of Peter Walker’s work over the past 25 years, from early drawings to sculptures and fine artworks in bronze and oil. 

They have been selected from Peter’s vast output to depict different elements of practice that an artist might undertake, as well as each making a statement in its own right as to what it is to be human. Reflecting on the self, on our psychology, on wider societal issues and on the world around us.

Paintings by Peter Walker Medium
The Three Graces oil on board 
Portrait D oil on board
Abstract Portrait oil on board
The Red woman oil on board
4 scenes from the stations of the cross oil on board
Landscape oil on board
The Yellow Field, Provence field oil on board (landscape)
Lugano oil on board (landscape)
Cloud oil on board  (landscape)
Self Portrait pencil charcoal on paper
Self Portrait pencil on paper
Anatomical Study pencil on paper
John Paul Sartre pencil on paper


Sculptures by Peter Walker Medium
Humanities Contempt for Humanity bronze
The Worker bronze
Rise of the dreaming body bronze
Urban Thinker bronze
Prime bronze
Where is my mind? bronze
Female head bronze
The Sound of Mary Magdalene bronze
Muse 1 bronze
Muse 2 bronze
Movement bronze
Angel for the 21st Century bronze
Pity of War bronze


Light and Sound Creations by Peter Walker Tv Screens
External light and sound shows Screen 1
Internal light and sound shows Screen 1
Film showing a modern depiction of the Stations of the Cross artwork Screen 4
Film showing a modern depiction of the Stations of the Cross artwork Screen 4



Peter Walker created this artwork, especially for sacred spaces. The steel structure represents
Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). The DNA double helix is the molecule chain that coils and carries the genetic information for all living things.

He is asking, you the viewer, to question topics such as science and faith and how the two subjects philosophically intertwine.


Peter Walker was inspired by the traditional photo booth for this installation. Position yourself in front of the camera and press the button.

You are the artist’s model for a short time and your photo will become part of a new artwork that Peter will create and install in 2023. Your image will appear on the framed TV screen so you become the star of your own piece of art for just a few minutes.

Once somebody else sits for the ‘artist’, your personal artwork disappears.


Designed as a reflective memorial to the pandemic, Peter Walker created 5,000 metal leaves; each engraved with the word hope. The leaves symbolise the past but also the future. Giving the impression of leaves that have fallen from the trees, the leaves transition in colour from silver to brown to reflect an autumnal mood. They appear as though scattered by the wind.

Peter chose the sycamore maple leaf to represent strength, protection, eternity and clarity. Using
steel as the material for the leaves reminds us of our resilience and collective strength. The simplicity and beauty of Reflection is a way for you to contemplate how you feel and remember your loved ones.

You’re welcome to light a candle and take a prayer card home. Individual leaves are available to purchase in person from the Cathedral shop.

David Harper Music

The sound piece ‘Being Human’ was composed and performed by David Harper for this installation, played on a violin restored during lockdown, recorded for the first time and layered with harp and sampled orchestra. It aims to express our fragility and need for connection and support.

“One choice was whether to keep many of the human imperfections that come with playing a new instrument or to edit and correct them, filter or no filter ?”  - David Harper

More about Peter Walker

Peter Walker is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a member of the Royal Society of British Sculptors. An internationally renowned sculptor and artist, he produces sculptures, paintings, drawings, installation pieces, and Son-et-Lumiere for large-scale public art events.

Peter has created many public artworks. His work is in public and private collections internationally, including at the British Embassy in Dubai and Paris, The Collections of Limburg (Germany), St Chads Cathedral (Canada), Chester Cathedral, Sheffield Cathedral, and University Church in Oxford amongst others. He was the artist behind our Peace Doves artwork which was finally installed in 2021, following the pandemic.