An incredible mural has been painted on the side wall of St Kilda- Elsternwick Baptist Church. This mural is the work of a community of Aboriginal artists drawn from the Indigenous prison recovery centres – Winja Ulupna and Galiamble – and is a collaboration between the church, the local community and the local Jewish community. The local MP’s were present, the local council representative and Rev Andrew Woff, co-pastor at St Kilda -Elsternwick Baptist Church, all spoke very authentically about the journey that this mural has taken. It is a wonderful expression of collaboration, community and mission.
You can read Andrew Woff’s speech below.
Good morning everyone.
Everything we do today indicates our acknowledgement of Boon Wurrung country, our respect for their elders past present and future and our deep longing for justice and wellbeing for all our nation’s indigenous people.
You know how in life there are things that don’t live up to your dreams and you learn to live with adjusted expectations and disappointment. And now and then something comes along that is better than you dreamed. Well today we celebrate one of those.
This has been a partnership between Viv Parry’s Art and Therapy program, Galiamble and Winja Ulupna, the City of Port Phillip and the St Kilda Elsternwick Baptist Church.
We’ve all worked hard and put in big efforts to make this not just a reality but a celebration – and I think we’ve all got back more than we put in.
I’d like to give particular thanks to:
The City of Port Phillip which has funded this project – in fact with 3 different grants: for the paint and supplies, for a small film to be made of the process and for today’s celebratory lunch.
The artists whose names appear on the wall surrounding the plaque recognising the mural. This is a big artistic piece made up of hundreds of little pieces of art. You will all remember the bits where it was your brush that told your part of this story.
Auntie Bea, Mark, Marnie and Greg who have so graciously facilitated the project. In fact it was Auntie Bea who did much of the design, who painted Bunjil, the beautiful eagle -indigenous image of God – and the sunrise over the mural.
The church’s hospitality teams – Helen, Digby, Robyn, Christine, Barry, Leonie, Sally, Stacey, Bill – and the team who did a little surveillance work after some damage was done to the mural – Graeme, Di, Helen, Kerry and Alice.
Viv – the mural’s dreamer, inspirer, motivator and coordinator – and Pam for her diligence and filming.
I’d like to conclude with a Post Script: We seem to have arrived at a time when prominent political leaders lead by fear and division. The mural says, “We beg to differ.” Beauty is born of respect, cooperation and partnership in our common humanity. It is love not hate that enriches us. It’s my prayer that this mural would not only point us back to a time when the Boon Wurrung lived sustainably in this place, but also forward to a different way of being with one another.