Art and spirit at ACU

Published: Thursday 2nd April 2015

Anyone exploring the halls and chapels of our campuses can't help but notice the array of artworks on display - most with considerable national, historical and religious significance. Those interested can now find out the story behind them thanks to the Art and Spirit project.

The Art and Spirit DVD and accompanying booklet are the result of a research project funded by the Institute of Catholic Identity and Mission and produced by Professor Margot Hillel OAM.

The DVD celebrates ACU and its contribution to the Catholic intellectual tradition, particularly through art and symbol. It makes a vital contribution to the understanding of the importance of aesthetics and beauty in the development of spirituality.

A range of university staff including theologians, art historians, campus deans, and the Director of Identity and Mission describe the artworks. Each brings his or her personal perspective to the works discussed, while placing them in the context of art and spirit.

Artworks featured are varied, and cover a range of styles and media from as long ago as the 14th century to very recent times.

Among those included are the three pieces by renowned sculptor Guy Boyd which the University is fortunate to own: Mary, Mother of God at the Aquinas Campus; Jacob Wrestling with the Angel at Signadou and The Deposition at St Patrick's.

Also noteworthy is The Virgin Annunciate by Taddeo di Bartolo, which belonged to the Sienese School in the early 1400s. The Virgin Annunciate now features on the University's prayer cards. Other significant pieces are works by Justin O'Brien, Bryan Westwood, Brian Dunlop, Linda Klarfeld and Louis Laumen.

Many other notable pieces are by unknown artists from long ago such as the chasubles at the North Sydney Campus that are 15th century and derive from York Minster, in England. And the poignant Madonna and Child in the chapel in Melbourne, which is from Flanders and is possibly as old as the late 14th century.

The DVD and booklet are a resource for all staff and students, offering information not only on the artworks, but also on the architecture of our campuses. They will be available in university libraries, and can be provided as gifts to university visitors where appropriate.

I would like to congratulate Professor Hillel and all involved. This resource is evidence of the University's continued exploration of the sacred in everyday life.

Professor Greg Craven