Following an invited competition, Tomoako Suzuki was commissioned to create a nativity crib for St Martin-in-the-Fields. Suzuki carved a 12-piece nativity group in limewood (at forty percent life-size) which is housed within a transparent case and installed in Trafalgar Square each December.
Working from live models, Suzuki’s technique was to create a clay sculpture initially, followed by a plaster version, from which the limewood was carved and then painted. Suzuki collaborated with the fashion designer Jessica Ogden, who designed the clothes worn by the models posing for the figures within the nativity scene.
The models were selected by Suzuki to represent the richly multi-cultural community of Britain today, while the donkey and sheep were modelled on animals at Hackney City Farm. Six plaster figures were shown in the Church from 4 December 2005 through to Epiphany; the final Crib was completed and installed at Trafalgar Square Christmas 2006.
The Crib commission is part of the St Martin-in-the-Fields Arts Programme, developed and curated by Modus Operandi.