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'Gaia' Awe-Inspiring Earth Sculpture Coming to The Apex

See the Earth as only astronauts have as this enormous and awe-inspiring sculpture comes to The Apex in Bury St Edmunds this October.

Following on from last year's hugely popular Museum of the Moon installation, UK artist Luke Jerram's awe-inspiring artwork returns to The Apex in Bury St Edmunds in the form of Gaia - a 7-metre diameter, rotating sculpture of our planet Earth that will provide an immersive experience for visitors, creating a sense of the 'Overview Effect' as experienced by astronauts. 


The sculpture’s name is derived from the Greek word Gaia meaning ‘Earth’; in Greek mythology Gaia is the personification of the earth. This exhibit is the first time that this spectacular artwork will be displayed in East Anglia.

Cllr John Griffiths, Leader of West Suffolk Council said: “This is a massive coup for Bury St Edmunds and West Suffolk. The installation has been displayed in Hong Kong, Australia, Taiwan and at the Natural History Museum in London, but we will be the first venue in Eastern region to have the Earth on show. When we had the Museum of the Moon at The Apex last year, we saw 15,000 visitors in the first week. We are not expecting as many as that and will have social distancing measures in place, but equally we do hope that people will come to see and enjoy this wondrous sight before going to enjoy the local shops, restaurants and other town attractions.”


Featuring detailed NASA imagery of the Earth’s surface at 120dpi resolution, the internally lit artwork allows visitors to see our planet floating in three-dimensions. A specially made surround sound composition by BAFTA award winning composer, Dan Jones, will be played alongside the sculpture. 

The artwork is 1.8 million times smaller than the real Earth with each centimetre of the internally lit sculpture describing 18km of the Earth’s surface. By standing 211m away from the artwork, the public will be able to see the Earth as it appears from the moon.

The installation aims to create a sense of the 'Overview Effect', which was first described by author Frank White in 1987. Common features of the experience for astronauts are a feeling of awe for the planet, a profound understanding of the interconnection of all life, and a renewed sense of responsibility for taking care of the environment.
Therefore the artwork also acts as a mirror to major events in society. In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the artwork may provide the viewer with a new perspective of our place on the planet; a sense that societies of the Earth are all interconnected and that we have a responsibility toward one another. After the lockdown, there has been a renewed respect for nature.

“I hope visitors to Gaia get to see the Earth as if from space; an incredibly beautiful and precious place. An ecosystem we urgently need to look after – our only home”, said Luke Jerram.


Gaia is a major part of The Apex’s Covid-19 recovery programme and demonstrates how a concert hall is diversifying to present art during a time where it cannot stage a live performance.  

The artwork has been created in partnership with the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Bluedot and the UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres.

Gaia can be viewed at The Apex from 3 to 18 October between 10am and 4pm daily; admission is by pre-booked tickets only. Although entry is free allowing access for all, as The Apex has not been in a position to present a live concert since March, a donation of £3 per person is being recommended. There is an option to make larger donation to support The Apex.

To ensure social distancing, a limited number of people will be allowed to enter the auditorium at any given point and time slots will be limited to 25 minutes. Visitors will be required to wear their own facemask in the auditorium and hand sanitiser stations will be available. 

Pre-booking is essential either online at www.theapex.co.uk, by telephone on 01284 758000 or in person from The Apex, 1 Charter Square, Bury St Edmunds, IP33 3FD. 

For more information about Gaia visit www.my-earth.org

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