Banner Artwork for MSJ (Mount St Joseph Milperra)

On the 7th of December 2018 a project that I have been working on for about 8 months was unveiled.
This was a mix of emotions; on the one hand complete joy and gratitude for the opportunity, the process, what I have learned and experienced along the journey. And of course relief that the unveiling process went so well!

My speech text & slide images are below & you can watch the unveiling and my speech on the video too.
With much gratitude I thank Ms Archer and the entire MSJ community for trusting and empowering me. I'm deeply grateful also for the support and encouragement from the Sisters of Saint Joseph. Brick by brick, prayer by prayer, we are community...

Dorothy Day once said:
"People say, "What is the sense of our small effort?"
They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time."


This artwork has been many steps and many bricks put together to make this whole piece. It’s a building that has been built by our community. And today I thank you for trusting me to be the architect - this artwork does not belong to me, it is ours. The story of the artwork goes a little like this... About 7-8 Months ago Ms Archer and myself where standing there, we were looking around at the hall and seeing the blank walls she said to me, "hey… you could do some artwork here!"

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I temporarily froze &  most likely looked a little like this… 
I found myself being excited and terrified. Then I temporarily thawed and blurted out…  “what a great idea - sounds fantastic!”
O God

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As I started to thaw I turned to prayer. This is always my first port of call. With prayer I thought about my motivations, 
Who is this for?
How will this serve our God?
How will it serve our community?

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I realised that the community needed to be involved, the process must be driven by what you all wanted. 
So, I started with a google survey to all home rooms and discussed this with student leaders, students and staff. 
I reviewed all the data and remembered all the conversations. Then I started piecing together the hand sketches and brain storming how it might all work.  Mr Basset and Mr Attard measured the area for the banners so I could work out dimensions too.

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Because so many people wanted to have dot patterns based on aboriginal style artwork. I worked with our students of aboriginal heritage to colour in the dot patterns.  These were scanned and converted into house colours. A big thank you to those students  - you were brilliant. - Some were very generous and gave us their own artwork which I have worked in - a special thank you to Sarah Kennedy who I’m certain is a true & talented artist.

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Through all this prayer was my guide - a way to check in - to make sure I was following the right motivations... 
Listening and creating
Brick by brick
Prayer by prayer

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It was soon time to start putting my hand drawn artwork into the computer and drawing digitally. Including different versions, layers, styles and colours. 

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With prayer it struck me that it was important to honour and include the traditional owners of this land. And felt that a translation of our motto was a way to do that. So, Ms McGing also helped and contacted Aunty Lyn Martin. Aunty Lyn Martin is from the Blue Mountains Darug people. And has lived in the Bankstown area for the last 45 years.  She is also the representative for the Bankstown AECG and Bankstown Community Elder. And is working to ensure that the unique and diverse identity of Aboriginal students is recognised and valued.

She was very generous - giving us her time and this translation. There is no aboriginal word for armour but we feel this translation is the best fit - which means "walk with me on path of sun.”

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Seeing that we have a wide variety of cultures at our school it is important for us to all have a voice. The idea struck – what if we translate our house values and work them into the dot patterns?
To achieve this I worked with Ms Naso-Dolce and our students to get translations of languages for all our house values. 
I set up outlines for the words then the house co-ordinators and Ms Barham helped getting relevant students to colour in the translations. 

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These were then scanned and worked into the artwork. And all the while Ms Archer, Mr Mahoney, and our A-team in the library gave me feedback throughout the project. 
Brick by brick
Prayer by prayer

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I persevered, through many ‘o God’ moments, found a printer that could print wide enough, got a test sample, asked for feedback, re-printed the test sample and then the large banners were printed.

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Mr Attard and Mr Basset have been creative and dedicated in hanging these for us too. It has not been possible for me to create this project alone.
Brick by brick
Prayer by prayer

this is OURS

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And so, I leave you in gratitude with the spirit of life, with Mary MacKillop and our Holy Family in our midst.  As our aboriginal translation reminds us -  may we be wrapped in God’s light and walk on “path of sun”
Amen. Thank you.

Watch the Video

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