This artwork was commissioned for the eighth Stations of the Cross annual exhibition.
8th – 17th April 2017 Wesley Church, Perth, WA
26th May – 11th June 2017 Geraldton Regional Art Gallery, Geraldton, WA
Running for the 8th year, the Stations of the Cross is curated by Claire Bushby and featured newly commissioned artworks by fifteen Western Australian contemporary artists. The artists were invited to created artworks, specially commissioned for the show.
The fifteen artworks correspond to the traditional story of Easter and the ritual of the ‘Stations of the Cross’. While pertaining to a religious narrative, participating artists each interpret a single ‘station’ through their personal and unique understanding of Easter and the human experiences and themes that underlie it.
The commissioned artists – who hail from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds – were asked to focus on the embodiment of humanity within their works and to engage in interfaith dialogue by exploring universal human experiences such as loss, grief, oppression, and mortality. Through a variety of art forms – including painting, sculpture, and textiles – the exhibition bridges between sacred stories and the issues and events that are present in our contemporary world.
Mel Dare’s station was Jesus Carried his Cross.
As a child on my Dad’s farm, I would climb to the top of the tallest wheat silo to watch the birds soar as the sun lowered to the horizon and imagined I was pure energy – that I could fly. Knowing that if I began to think I would fall. I have never broken a bone.
At 21, I watched my grandmother breathe her last breath. Her chest rattled with each prolonged gasp, then a long silence before another. Then another.
In my early 30’s, on the eighth day of a ten-day silent meditation on sensations and surrounded by sixty others, I lost my body. I no longer heard the birds outside or the crickets in the late summer afternoon. I felt no cloth on skin or soreness from sitting still. No feeling of breathing in or out. I sensed nothing. I was nothing but a consciousness—both calm and terrified.
At 33, Jesus knew he was going to die. He was stripped naked then whipped in front of a crowd until his skin fell off his back in ribbons. A crown of thorns pressed into his head and emperor’s robes placed on his back. The crowd jeered. His friends were gone. An average-looking Jewish man of that region. Being marched slightly less than a kilometre with a crossbeam on his back that he would soon be nailed to. Bloodied, torn, and broken.