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Window to crucifixion

Local

A stained glass window depicting Jesus’ crucifixion has become a talking point for Norwood parishioners since its unveiling in St Ignatius’ Church last year.

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Inspired by his oil painting ‘The Crucified Jesus’, the window was designed by South Australian artist Peter Serwan. It shows a naked Jesus crucified, with his mother Mary and Saint Ignatius of Loyola looking on. Bunches of grapes representing the Eucharist, a grapevine as an emblem of the Saviour and pomegranates symbolising the resurrection complete the image.

Stained glass artist Frans Kat created the striking window using more than 2500 individually hand-painted pieces of coloured glass.

Commissioned to commemorate the parish’s sesquicentenary in 2019, the window was blessed by Jesuit Provincial Fr Brian McCoy SJ on November 23.

Norwood parish priest Fr Paul Mullins SJ said it had prompted “plenty of comments” since its installation as the image showed the crucifixion for the “shocking event” it was, rather than the “sanitised version” that was the norm.

“When I met with the artist Peter Serwan to discuss the project I had certain criteria which were to shape the original paintings,” Fr Mullins wrote in the parish newsletter. Some of you may find the depiction of Jesus unsettling; some may even find it shocking. If you do, then the painting by Peter Serwan and the window by Frans Kat have succeeded in conveying something of the shock and horror of the event.”

Mr Serwan said initially he was concerned about how to create a “contemporary and distinctive work” on a “very traditional theme”.

“I wanted to create art that was sensitive, however with a pensive, brooding mood prevailing through the treatment of the sky. The moment that is conveyed in the window is one of deep emotion and grief, especially for Mary as she gazed on her crucified son.”

Fr Mullins said the window would not have been possible without the generosity of the late Sheila Mills, whose bequest funded the project, and the support of Humphrey George AM and his family, who funded the original painting, in memory of Beryl Margaret George.

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