The West

Exhibition gifts showcase sisters’ positive influence
Exhibition gifts showcase sisters’ positive influence

Each painting showcased in an exhibition for the Sisters of St John of God Kimberley last week portrayed a connection with the sisters and Catholic faith.

The Gifts for Sisters exhibition was officially opened last week.

Artists, storytellers and their families attended the opening of the exhibition, showcasing an array of stunning paintings presented to the sisters during their 2007 centenary celebrations.

SSJG was founded in Ireland in 1871, and in 1895 eight of the sisters sailed to WA.

In 1907, nine of the sisters left Perth for Beagle Bay Mission, led by Sister Antonio O’Brien, to minister Aboriginal women and children.

In 2007, the sisters celebrated 100 years of ministry in the Kimberley. An invitation was sent out to Aboriginal people across the region to tell their stories through paintings.

To mark the occasion, a newly published catalogue featuring the paintings and stories from the exhibition was launched at the opening.

The Gifts for Sisters catalogue is an historical keepsake filled with early photographs of the sisters as they cared for children and includes descriptions of life in the Kimberley.

After formal proceedings, guests were invited into the Bernadine room of the old convent, to view the beautiful artworks.

Artist Marjorie Hunter dedicated a large acrylic oil painting entitled Sisters and Girls of the Holy Child Orphanage, featuring a centre circle with the heart of both white and Aboriginal hands holding each other.

“They are the ‘healing hands’ of faith and love towards each other,” she said.

Ms Hunter was 18 months old when went into the orphanage, and had fond childhood memories of the sisters.

“We never knew our own mothers at the time,” she said. “The sisters gave us a lot of love and care.”

Sister Johanna Klep said the occasion was a wonderful way to reconnect with people throughout the Kimberley.

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