A shrine is a defined as ‘a place regarded as holy because of its associations with a divinity or a sacred person or relic, marked by a building or other construction.’

When reflecting on my work so far in my major project, I began to realise that what I was really interested in was the depiction of the Virgin Mary. I felt sympathy towards her, and began questioning my feelings towards my own religious beliefs. These feelings, along with my feedback from the mid project crit, influenced me to make a shrine for the Virgin Mary. To do so, I researched the significance of a shrine.

Visually, a shrine consists of a collection of ‘offerings’ or objects placed together either to commemorate a person, or to create a place of remembrance and respect. A shrine doesn’t necessarily have to be a religious offering. They can, and often are, used to remember a specific person or event. Popular examples of this can be seen in remembrance shrines for celebrities that have passed away;

Furthermore, shrines may be placed in specific locations where ‘miracles’ or sightings have occurred. On January 17th 1871 in France, 12 y/o Eugène Barbedette saw a ‘beautiful woman wearing a blue gown studded with stars and a black veil under a golden crown’. This was also seen by his younger brother and two other children but not by their parents. To mark this significant event, to this day there is a shrine held at the place this woman was seen by the children.

‘Our Lady of Pontmain’ statue to commemorate the sighting.

Shrines in the Catholic religion may be marked by the following; Flowers, candles, money, notes, bibles, cloths, rosaries, crucifix, dried out palms, coins, jewellery.

Shrines in a secular sense are commonly used in reference to a loved one or hope for connection. Some believe creating a shrine focused on a specific person can help to generate the energy between the creator and loved one. writes of the short few steps to create a shrine and therefore produce this energy.


I began collecting objects from family and friends as well as searching online for new and preloved Catholic objects, a method inspired by Kyle Montgomery’s Mary Statues.
I also made a lot of the objects using clay, fabric, and wire to accompany bought items.
By burning the candles at home and using wilting flowers, it suggests that these objects have been placed there for a period of time.

I placed the Mary bust centre of the shrine as this is where I wanted most of the attention to be focused on. I had previously painted tears using glitter paint onto the statue to resemble the miracles of statues crying, however I didn’t feel like it stood out enough.
To improve this, I used a mixture of glue, acrylic and printer paint to create a thick consistency in a dark red/brown colour to resemble blood. I wanted my theme of sorrow to speak through the statue with more power and feel the contrast and shock of blood on the white statue does this well.


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