10 Apr 2020

Hand of comfort

The Southern Cross  |  April 2020

Hand of comfort

As Christians around the world prepare to celebrate the holiest time of the year under the shadow of the coronavirus, the image of Jesus being comforted by Mary on his way to the cross symbolises the need for us to care for each other in this time of pain and suffering.

The image is from the Stations of the Cross by Indigenous artist Miriam Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann AM, originally completed in 1974/75 for the new Catholic church in Daily River, Northern Territory.

Miriam’s artwork, which can be found in churches, public spaces, galleries and private collections all over Australia and abroad, investigates the relationship between her Christian faith and Aboriginal culture.

Her interpretation of the fourth station of the cross – Jesus meeting his mother on the way to his crucifixion – reflects that when an Aboriginal woman wants to comfort a grown-up son in pain, she touches him with her hand. The hand-touch carries the message of “divine grace and human support that he is sending out to her”, explains Miriam.

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