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The Angelico Exhibition 2012
Article by Fr R Cross
The 2012 Angelico Exhibition was formally opened by Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB at the Forrest Centre in St Georges Terrace on 14 August.
In his opening address, His Grace said that the Angelico Exhibition was named after the ". . . famous medieval artist, Fra Angelico, who was beatified by Pope John Paul 11 in 1982. It was on that occasion that the Pope named Fra Angelico as the patron saint of artists."
His Grace then reflected on the person of Fra Angelico, saying that was ". . . a Dominican friar who lived in the fifteenth century and who was as famous for his care for the poor as he was for his art. It was said of him that no-one who came to the door of the monastery ever went away hungry and that Fra Angelico was never known to lose his temper with people, no matter how trying or difficult they were. It is also said that he never began a work of art without first praying and that he never went back over any of his paintings to alter and improve them, because he believed that what came from his hand and his brush, if it was the result of prayer, was the work of the Lord more than it was his own work."
In refleceting on the art in the Exhibition, the Archbishop said that "Every single work in this year’s art exhibition is the result of and is an expression of the wonderful gifts which God has given to each of our artists. In this sense these works represent not just the depth and beauty of each artist’s inner self, but also the depth and beauty of each of us, for we are all made in the image and likeness of God."
In formally opening the Angelico Exhibition, His Grace said, ". . . with great admiration for the creativity and skill of our artists I have great pleasure in asking God to bless this exhibition, to bless all those who will visit it, to bless all those who have in any way worked for its success and most of all to bless the young artists who have been generous enough to allow us a glimpse into the beauty of their own hearts and minds. And so I now formally declare open the Angelico Exhibition for 2012."
A special category in the 2012 Angelico Exhibition was sponsored by The Faith Centre of the Archdiocese of Perth to mark the Year of Grace. This award was presented personally by Archbishop Costelloe.
In announcing the winner of the award, Archbishop Costelloe made the following comments:
"The Australian bishops have invited all members of our Catholic community to enter into a special time of reflection and prayer which we are calling the Year of Grace. I am very grateful to the organizers of the Angelico Exhibition for including the Year of Grace Award as a special award this year, and to the Faith Centre of the Archdiocese who, as part of their role as the facilitators of the year of Grace, have sponsored this award.
The idea of the year of Grace is very simple. It is a year in which all of us are invited to remember that Jesus Christ stands at the very heart of our faith as the one real gift which we, as a Church, are called to offer to everyone. We get caught up in so many things that we can easily forget that our faith, before it is about anything else, is about Jesus and the invitation he holds out to us to entrust our lives to him.
This special category in this year’s exhibition therefore is all about art which in some way reflects on the face of Christ. Our winners this evening have taken this theme and interpreted it in three quite unique ways.
The first award tonight, in the Highly Commended category, goes to a young year seven student from St Mary’s College in Broome who has entitled her work: Contemplating the face of Jesus. The artist has allowed herself to be drawn into the natural beauty of the beach at Broome and reminds us of the importance of looking through the beauty of our world to the beauty of the God who gives it to us. She has understood that among the many places in which we can encounter Christ the beauty of our physical world is one which speaks very strongly to many people. I have great pleasure in congratulating Sharney Grant on her wonderful achievement in winning this commendation for her work.
The second award tonight, in the highly commended category, goes to a student from John XX111 College. As you will see it is a work on two panels, in some ways reminiscent of the great tradition in religious art of painting a diptych in which two complementary images are portrayed in such a way as to be able to allow for a mutual interpretation of each single piece. The title of this artist’s work is “I said a prayer for you” and it captures very well a special dimension of the Year of Grace as the bishops originally intended it: that is as a year of reflection and prayerfulness, a time when we could step aside from the busy-ness of life to focus on the things, and especially the people, that really matter. The artist has succeeded very well in capturing this essentially contemplative dimension of the year of Grace and I have great pleasure in congratulating Madelyn Balinski on her achievement in this wonderful piece of work.
The winner of this year’s special Year of Grace award is a student from Aquinas College who has given us a work entitled “Mother Nature”. This is a particularly imaginative and creative piece which represents a deeply contemplative pondering of the mystery of God as the creator who gazes on his creation as a mother would gaze on her child: with tenderness, with wonder and with pride and perhaps also with hope. The artist invites us to draw on our own human experience in order to catch a glimpse of the way in which God seeks to be in relationship with his creation, and most especially with us. He has captured well, I think, something of the mystery behind our belief that in our human lives, when we are at our best, we really do image and reflect God. It is my great pleasure to congratulate our winner this evening and thank him for sharing his vision with us. Our winner tonight is Sam Ratovich."