|Manna Gum by Safina Stewart|
The painting above is the latest by Aboriginal Christian Artist Safina Stewart, who I've featured previously here at Indigenous Jesus– go Safina! She posted the image June 5th on her Facebook page and included the following description:
Just thought you all might like to know what's been keeping me busy lately. I've been working on a number of commissions. One of which I unveiled with the Mayor, Cr. Jim Child, and presented at the Yarra Ranges Reconciliation lunch yesterday!
The Shire of the Yarra Ranges and their Indigenous Advisory Committee commissioned me to paint this "Manna Gum". There is a deep story in this painting. In a sense it is a self-portrait of our local Indigenous community - a metaphor for how we see ourselves and how we interpret our Ways of Being as an urban contemporary Indigenous community. Everything in it has a special meaning and reminder. It was awesome speaking about the story and journey in painting it. The Manna Gum is characterized by its resilience and endurance - a perfect image to represent our Indigenous community. This is a piece of purpose, hope and pride.
The Shire of Yarra Ranges launched their new Reconciliation Action Plan yesterday at the lunch. My artwork has been used throughout the RAP booklet (looks too deadly!) My Mum, Doseena Fergie, was one of the guest speakers and was so inspiring, challenging and engaging. On ya, Ma!
The original (3x5 feet) will hang in the Yarra Ranges Council Chambers when it is not on tour in other exhibitions. So keep and eye out for it if you are a local on Wurundjeri country!Safina also posted a wonderful short video showing her painting Manna Gum, which is really great because you get to see how she applies the paint (sometimes with her hands) and her struggle to bring the image out of her mind and onto the canvas. I really liked seeing the close-ups of the detailed patterns as she applies them to the trunk of the tree and the soil beneath the tree's roots. Safina writes that the "actual painting took...6mths of planning, thinking and stewing over ideas and then about 10 days of painting scattered over 2 months. The life of a mother and artist, eh!" She even filmed and edited the video herself! Congratulations and great work Safina!