Pilgrims and Pilgrimage Sights and Sounds of the Sacred Govan Old Church



While pilgrimage may be defined as a mode of journeying towards a highly significant focus or goal – a shrine or other sacred place – in its broadest sense, it is also a journey undertaken for reasons of curiosity or as a matter of sentiment. What also characterises pilgrimage is the form and effect of the journey, which often takes the traveller or pilgrim out of their conventional and habit world into a kind of liminality, or in-between place, that leads to a transformative state.


Exhibition curated by: Jim Harold, David Jasper and Donald Orr.

Exhibiting artists:  Sara Alonso, Susan Brind & Jim Harold, Conor Cook & Joanna Peace, Jasper Coppes, Victoria Evans, Cristina Garriga, Birthe Jorgensen and Emil Lillo (staff and alumni from Glasgow School of Art’s M Litt Fine Art Practice course).

19th May – 3rd June 2018, Glasgow, UK.


Govan Old Church, the site of which dates back to the late 9th century and possibly earlier, was itself once a site of pilgrimage. 

The present building holds within its walls some very fine objects of historical and sculptural importance: among them the 9th century sarcophagus associated, by some, with the Scottish Saint, Constantine, who is thought to have lived circa 6th century. It is known that, historically, his tomb was once a focus for pilgrimage.

Also, within the church are a number of early stone crosses and grave stones, including five 10th century ‘hogback stones’. Tourists and locals regularly visit the church to view these historic objects and there is still a small community who pray there on a regular basis. The building acts now as both a spiritual hub for the community and as a museum, and its changing conceptual form, may be considered as providing a parallel narrative to accompany the changing nature of pilgrimage.
saraalonso@saraalonsovisualart.com