Indigenous artworks tell Easter story in Springwood Presbyterian Church

The fusion of the Christian Easter story, told through the stunning paintings of Indigenous artists will pass like an ephemeral moment this month.

Until April 28 residents and visitors to the Mountains can enjoy the Easter story being told at Springwood Presbyterian Church Frazer Memorial in the middle of Macquarie Road. There they will find a collection of eight stunning outdoor artworks marking Jesus's sacrifice on the cross and resurrection, told through the brushes of the traditional custodians of this ancient continent.

Parishioner Jan Johnston had the idea more than a year ago to recreate some of the works of 66 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Christian artists captured in the book Our Mob God's Story celebrating the bicentenary of the Bible Society in Australia (a long-time publisher of Indigenous scriptures).

She spent almost six months tracking down permissions from seven Indigenous artists who hailed from as far afield as the Tiwi Islands and Tasmania.

Mrs Johnston said: "The paintings were installed in the grounds of Springwood Presbyterian Church in time for the polling place crowds on state election day. We were a very busy polling booth and they will remain to be enjoyed by the public until the weekend of Springwood Foundation Day celebrations."

"We are delighted that the community has engaged so warmly with this artistic narrative, the Events of Easter and that the main street of Springwood has been enhanced by these beautiful artworks."

"There's a fusion that goes on [with the Dreamtime and their Christian faith], " Mrs Johnston said. "Aboriginal people are great storytellers and they have embraced that story in their own culture and tell it through their own symbols - it's a great way to get it away from a European representation."

Mrs Johnston said much like Sculpture by the Sea, the artworks are temporary and will need to be removed after the event, as per the agreement with the artists themselves. The congregation has missionaries who work with and support Indigenous communities in Alice Springs and have learnt to communicate through language and painting.

The works were printed by Springwood Printing and coated in a decoupage glue to survive the rain.

"They can't be sold or kept in respect for the artists. We display them and that's it."

Sales of the book Our Mob, God's Story are for sale inside the stone church.

  • Springwood Presbyterian Easter Church services
  • Easter Sunday, 9am Springwood and Winmalee (near the high school), 11am and 5pm Springwood
  • Sunday April 29, the church will host a visit from the Bible Society's Jonathan Harris who will talk about the inspiration behind the book and the commitment of the Society to Indigenous communities.