The biennial ACE Awards were set up in 2003 to draw attention to standards in religious art and design. At the outset the awards commended only Christian works but since 2005 the criteria have included all faiths. Although the parameters for each faith have their own limits and constraints, the consistent factors of high aesthetic sense as well as sound theological interpretation are applied to each award and by each judging panel.
ACE Awards Trophies
Pictured above, Colin Reid's ICHTHUS Font (left) and Graham Jones' Sister Moon, Mother Earth (right), are two glass works commissioned as 'trophies' for the winning entries of the ACE Awards. From 2005 they have been displayed at the entrances to the new Galleries of Sacred Silver and Stained Glass at the V&A museum. Every two years these art works will be loaned for temporary display in the winners' venues of the ACE Art and Architecture Awards.
The symbol of a fish was used by the Early Christians to communicate their baptismal faith. 'ICHTHUS', the Greek word for fish, stands for I Jesus; CH Christ; TH of God; U Son; S Saviour. The fish symbol is found in early Catacombs in Rome and is still used today. It has a special resonance in this context of a font or water stoup (commonly used as a reminder of Christian baptismal vows), captured in Colin Reid's remarkable treatment of optical glass.
Graham Jones' panels are inspired by the 'Canticle of Creation' written by St. Francis of Assisi (1181/2-1226). They celebrate the astonishing influence of the Moon in maintaining the Earth's stability; the regular rhythms of gravity on ocean tides, cyclical seasons and the early evolution of living forms.