By Eric Martin
The winners have been announced for the 2019 Catholic Liturgical Art Competition which, inspired by Aboriginal knowledge and the Catholic faith, encouraged schools and parish communities to produce artwork that combined traditional indigenous methods and Catholic ideology.
Organised by Aboriginal Catholic Ministry (ACM), the theme of the competition – “Our Sacred Song Lines Upon This Earth” – aimed to represent both the Catholic faith and Aboriginal culture’s commitment to the stewardship of all creation, with the competition judged in three categories: Primary Group, Primary Individual, and High School Group.
The Primary Group winners were: Alexander Jarvis, Veronica Jess, Orsino Clarke, Stella Versace, Travis Blurton, and Jasmine Allen – Year 6 students from St Michael’s Primary School Bassendean; with second place awarded to Chantelle Beloti and Sophie Oakey, from St Jerome’s Primary School Spearwood.
According to the students, their artworks were created “as a result of our inquiry into Noongar Art, in particular the voices of Indigenous Australians as told through their song lines”.
“We looked at the spiritual connection that the Noongar people have to their land and realised that our ‘journey of faith’ through our sacraments could also be recorded visually. We have interwoven ancient, storytelling symbols into our artworks alongside more modern techniques of photographs, images and collage.
“Our canvases pay tribute to our individual chosen saints for our Sacrament of Confirmation, our faith journey to date and to our traditional custodians of this spiritual land on which we walk.”
The winners of the Individual Primary School category were:
- Monique Lyra, a Year 5 student from St Peter’s Primary School Inglewood, won first place with her piece titled “Life is a creation”;
- Gian Versace, a Year 4 student from St Michael’s Bassendean, came second with “Come to the table”;
- Jason Vettor, also a Year 5 student from St Peter’s Primary, third with his artwork “Spirit Snake”;
- The Participation Certificate was awarded to Ava Bennet, another St Peter’s Year 5 student.
The High School Group winners were 19 students from La Salle College with their piece titled “Wirt-Keyiny” (We Are One).
This painting depicts Aboriginal and Liturgical art in a story form with the centrepiece showcasing La Salle’s school founder, St John Baptist De La Salle and Desmond Headland Snr, an Elder from the Whadjuk Mardoon Nyungar Tribe (La Salle College resides on Whadjuk Nyungar Country).
Second place in the High School Group category went to 18 Year 7 students from Lumen Christi College with their artwork “Finger Prints on the Land”.
The piece pays homage to God the creator and shows how His spirit is evident in every aspect of the land, combining maps of special places with the artists’ fingerprints, to symbolise that the fingerprint of God is on every landscape and that we are all called to be caretakers of the land.
ACM Director Vicky Burrows said the competition was officially launched on Monday 3 December 2018, together with a workshop and information day conducted by a local Aboriginal artist.
Though the winners were originally to be announced during NAIDOC week, the first week of July, the competition was judged early due to delays in submittal and the relatively low number of entries.
The works will be exhibited at the Angelico Exhibition for Primary and Secondary Schools and Colleges in August 2019.