DEATH rituals across the ages form the focus of a new art installation in the heart of York city centre.

New works by sculptor Julian Stair on display from today at York St Mary’s have been created in response to ceramics from the collections of York Museums Trust, including some which are thousands of years old.

Entitled The Matter Of Life And Death, it will feature more than 30 works, ranging from Egyptian canopic jars to Roman head pots, which will provide inspiration for Julian’s own pieces.

They will be on open display in York St Mary’s, a church which dates back to the 13th Century in the Coppergate Centre.

Julian said: “In the last few thousand years art has changed significantly, but our perception of death and our reaction to people close to us dying has remained remarkably consistent.

“The artefacts relating to the rituals of death can be seen as a window into the lives of our ancestors who used art and objects to help them try and come to terms with death just as we do today.

“We can still relate to these objects and be moved by them because the feelings which inspired their creation haven’t changed.

“It was a dream to be given the chance to work with the vast collections of York Museums Trust and then to create new works as a response.”

The free exhibition runs until July 7.