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St Stephen’s Cathedral is wrapped up in art

Cathedral art

Artistic talent: Cathedral of St Stephen Art Group chair and artist Michelle Bowden with artist Jane Higgins painting the icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Christ child. Photo: Emilie Ng

LOCAL artists have turned a busy construction site around St Stephen’s Cathedral into a mural on the Catholic social teaching theme of solidarity.

Along the left side of the cathedral, local artists helped paint a mural of Brisbane residents welcoming the pregnant Blessed Virgin Mary and her faithful husband in time for Christmas Masses.

The art project, co-ordinated by the Cathedral of St Stephen Art Group, started in early December to add a touch of beauty to the working site of the cathedral upgrade.

COSSAG chair and artist Michelle Bowden said the large mural image of Brisbane welcoming the Holy Family was a message about being open to refugees.

While the group had hoped to start the project in October last year, it was delayed due to the ongoing construction work.

Ms Bowden said a generous offer from one of the workers, an employee of Certified Roofing, helped push the project forward.

“There was one of the construction workers who said they would pay for the paint,” she said.

The man’s only request was to be immortalised as one of the three wise men on the mural.

Cathedral mural

Creative transformation: Artists have transformed a construction site into a mural with Christian messages. Photo: Facebook.

“Instead of the traditional three wise men, we’ve got a construction worker, an indigenous woman and a traditional wise man, because we were thinking there’s more wisdom out there now,” Ms Bowden said.

A traditional icon image of Mary and the Christ child also appears on the adjoining timber board near the front of the cathedral.

“We’re trying to get the real meaning of Christmas across, instead of (images of) Santa Claus,” Ms Bowden said.

Artists recently began the second phase of the mural that will focus on the environment.

The project is expected to last several months until the end of the cathedral refurbishment.

Ms Bowden said the mural was being painted on wooden boards that belonged to the roofing company that bought the paint and COSSAG had not discussed whether the art would be kept post-construction.

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