A message from Associate Vice-Chancellor (Sydney) Professor Marea Nicholson

Published: Monday 13th April 2015

I am pleased to extend an invitation to all ACU staff to visit the exhibition Stations of the Cross, which is showing as part of the ACU 25th anniversary celebrations in the McGlade Gallery at the Strathfield Campus.

This exciting exhibition is based on the Franciscan 15 Stations of the Cross, the following of the footsteps of the Lord through his passion, death and resurrection, a simple pilgrimage that all can undertake. The exhibition however contains a small twist to the tradition with esteemed artist Shirley Purdie, from the Warmun Community in the Kimberley, specifically asked to do a 16th Station where Jesus comes to Warmun.

The exhibition, which has been co-curated by Senior Lecturer Lachlan Warner and the Rev Dr Doug Purnell OAM, is an incredibly powerful collection of works exploring the Easter journey of our Lord Jesus as interpreted by an impressive list of Australian artists. The visual artists were invited to bring a fresh insight to the traditional texts that would open significant conversations for those who view the work.

Rev Dr Doug Purnell has commented on the exhibition and the choice of artists by saying:

"An exciting part for me as a pastoral theologian and curator is that we do not invite artists because of their religious faith; many of the artists say to me 'If you ask me to do this, you have to know that I am not religious,' and I reply, 'I am not asking you because you are religious, I am asking you because you are a good artist and I think you have the capacity to answer difficult questions through your artistic practice.' I give the artists freedom to create the work as is appropriate for them. As a theologian I am continually delighted in the way artists' give us back our texts in really fresh and life giving ways."

Theologians from within ACU were also asked to make a response to particular stations and their work is included in this exhibition, not as a commentary on the work but as a further dimension for looking, thinking and praying to the Stations of the Cross.

The combination of the visual and the philosophical makes for a powerful exhibition and it is the hope of the curators that you exit the exhibition seeing life in new ways and having a deeper experience of Easter.

The exhibition opened on 29 March and will run until 18 April. It can be viewed Monday to Saturday, 11am to 4pm at the McGlade Gallery, Strathfield.


Professor Marea Nicholson
Associate Vice-Chancellor (Sydney)
Australian Catholic University