By Karen Keddie
During Term One 2023, the students from Matthew Gibney Catholic Primary School, worked with talented visual artist, Carolyn White, to create a mosaic mural that represents many different aspects of the school’s location and faith heritage.
Every student from Kindergarten to Year 6, worked with Carolyn and her team, to cut and place the mosaic tiles.
The main feature of the mosaic is an illustration of the school’s patron, former Perth Bishop Matthew Gibney.
Bishop Matthew Gibney, the third Bishop of Perth, was a driving force in the new Swan River Colony, being instrumental in the growth and development of the Catholic community, including the establishment of the Diocese of Geraldton, The Record Newspaper, Clontarf College, St John of God Hospital, and numerous Catholic Schools.
The project was funded by the school’s Parents and Friends Association and was completed over several weeks.
Working with the school’s First Nation families, several symbols were incorporated into the mural, to represent the school’s proximity to Munday Swamp, which is a place of Noongar cultural significance.
Each of the symbols in the mural speaks to the story of the school; the gathering of people beside Munday Swamp; the flora and fauna of the local area; the open book representing education; and the Holy Spirit – which has continuously guided the school across the past 32 years.
Looking back across the mural, is the figure of Bishop Matthew Gibney, a man who was a visionary in Catholic Education.
The different elements of the mural are connected by water – the water of the wetlands, so important to the indigenous people, and the ocean that Matthew Gibney crossed from Ireland to begin his priestly life here in Perth.
Central to the mural is a cross made in 2011, by a long-standing member of the school community, Mr Steve Vajas. The cross represents the school’s fundamental purpose, which is Christ-centred education.
Matthew Gibney Principal Therese Hussey and P&F President Stephanie Kuciuba, together with the whole school community witnessed the revealing of the 10-metre-long mural on Wednesday 3 May.
Entitled FAITH, PLACE, JOURNEY, the mural was blessed by Maida Vale Parish Priest Fr Joseph Rathnaraj, who reminded those gathered of the great privilege of receiving an education, in such a faithful and welcoming community, and prayed that the school would continue to uphold the vision of Matthew Gibney.
In her address, Mrs Hussey thanked all those involved and congratulated everyone who worked and collaborated on the project, in particular the extraordinary effort and talent of Carolyn and her team who created who created such a magnificent work of art that welcomes visitors into the school.