Painting - Cullinane College
In late 2021 I was approached by a Cullinane College in Whanganui, New Zealand to create an image for their community.
The school requested an image that honours the two charisms of the school (Marist + Josephite), while also highlighting the diversity in the school community. They specifically requested Jesus, Mary and Joseph, as Māori people, and with a teenage Jesus. They also wanted to weave in the Catholic faith of the school. Essentially this image was created to help the college visually show the charisms of the school and to create space to see our God in all things and hold sacred the infinite beauty of the cultural traditions of the school community.
Note: There are two versions of the image — this original painting for the school + another original version of this image (as shown on the blog post)
With the brief in mind i was conscious that it was alot for an artist to incorporate and honour — but, with listening anything is possible. Any artwork piece created as a commission must be created through community listening.
The classic three W’s were used as part of the discernment process.
Why are we doing it?
Who is it for?
What do we want to produce?
With this piece, the more I listened the more I realised that my deep respect continues to grow for the Māori culture, its spiritual traditions and the Māori people (past, present and future). Also... I have much more to learn on many fronts! Normally I would have more consultation for a project like this, but due to covid restrictions and time limitations this project progressed as best it could in these unique times.
I have tried to depict Jesus in his youthful wisdom inviting us to listen, to learn from the Māori people, to let God guide us today with open hearts. My deep hope is that this image may connect our young ones to God in all things. And may it also invite others that identify as Māori or as another indigenous culture to create an image / song / poem of what God might look be to them. We certainly need more art that better honours the beauty, goodness and truth of indigenous people / cultures and how our Christian faith is connected today.
Just a few Image notes:
The school colours and the School crest have been incorporated into the painting.
Jesus invites us to go with him; in our grief, joy and everything in between. He is our guide.
Jesus is linked physically and spiritually to earthly Father and Mother.
The use of light and halos historically tells the story of divinity.
Many symbols throughout the image to ‘read' including the hand placements, the colours, carvings and patterns.
The Kōmiromiro (tomtit) bird is known as the bringer of good news (Read more).
The legend of the Kōmiromiro (Read more)
Listen to sound records of the Kōmiromiro (Read and Listen)
Tēnā koutou, ngā mihi (Hello and thank you) to Cullinane College for trusting me to create this image. I hope we may remember the Māori phrase tō/ō taringa (listen more carefully). While listening to and honouring the indigenous people on the land that we all find ourselves — now and in new ways into the future…
Kia hora te marino,
Kia whakapapa pounamu te moana,
kia tere te Kārohirohi i mua i tōu huarahi.
May the calm be widespread,
May the ocean glisten as greenstone,
May the shimmer of light ever dance across your pathway.