To Be Free: Art and Liberty

Two people looking at a sculpture inside Salisbury Cathedral
Dates 15 May – 17 September 2023
Free, included with general admission ticket

What does it mean to be free?

The latest contemporary art exhibition at Salisbury Cathedral explores human rights and freedoms.

Visitors looking at Cornelia Parker's Magna Carta (An Embroidery)

Image: Installation view: Cornelia Parker, Magna Carta (An Embroidery), 2015

The exhibition includes works by internationally renowned artists, including Yinka Shonibare CBE RA, Cornelia Parker CBE, Jeffrey Gibson, Ai Weiwei, Mona Hatoum and Lucy Jones.

Salisbury Cathedral is home to the best-preserved remaining Magna Carta, on display in the Chapter House. This important historical document speaks of freedom, stating that all people have the right to justice and a fair trial, dissolving the absolute power of the monarchy.

Looking through the lens of contemporary art, this exhibition will focus on five facets of freedom: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom of expression, freedom of movement and freedom from fear.

A centrepiece of the exhibition is Cornelia Parker’s Magna Carta (An Embroidery), a 13-metre-long embroidery installation depicting the Magna Carta Wikipedia pages, sewn by civil rights campaigners, MPs, lawyers, barons, artists and prison inmates. This huge piece is the perfect complement to the Cathedral’s rare 1215 Magna Carta.

Another astonishing work is Yinka Shonibare’s Justice for All. The sculpture was exhibited for the first time in the UK during the summer of 2020, in response to the tragic killing of George Floyd. The towering figure is a reimagining of F.W. Pomeroy’s Lady Justice, a statue which stands above the dome of The Old Bailey.

To Be Free: Art and Liberty can be viewed at Salisbury Cathedral from 15 May – 17 September 2023.

Booking Information
Entry is included in general admission charges. To book your entry ticket to the Cathedral, click Book now. You can select a future date once on the booking page.


This exhibition is generously funded by Arts Council England and The Arts Society Wessex.