‘Hullaballoo Studio’ was commissioned to create a statue of Mary MacKillop which captured her spirit and charism. The Artist’s Statement, by Chris Sage, explains her thinking and intent.
The sculpture of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop and two children, was commissioned by MacKillop College Werribee to coincide with the celebration of 150th year of the Sisters of St Joseph in 2016. This sculpture was placed in the garden next to the new MacKillop College Chapel which was also opened and blessed in 2016. The three figures are moving forward together and Mary’s smile is the connection to the children. We are also able to feel part of the narrative.
Mary wears the rough-hewn garment of her choice and carries the cross in front of her. Her Rosary beads hang from her waist as a further reminder to us of our connection to Our Lady. Mary MacKillop is shown with her sleeves rolled up, to symbolise the essence of the Josephite practicality and their down to earth approach to life , simplicity and commitment to provide opportunities to those in need.
Not easily seen is the deep pocket which contained sweets for the children and is a beautiful symbol of her desire to bring joy to the young ones. It is also a symbol of our need to be cherished and sustained by love. The young girl is happily contained in a world of her own, trusting and secure in the knowledge that Mary has her hand. The child is experiencing elation, joy, freedom of spirit and trust showing that all things are possible including the leap of faith which life often asks of us.
The little boy is a symbol of all young people looking up at Mary with a sincere endeared look. The young boy is the symbol of trust, hope and expectation. He also holds the little girls hand in a relationship that describes the notion that we do not walk alone, we all need each other and that all things are possible when we work together. He is the other link in the Leap of Faith. He holds the book securely under his arm. The book symbolizes sacred relationship between teacher and student and also The Word.
Mary is smiling and walks easily with the children but casts her glance ahead, availing her message to everyone who comes to the sculpture. The decision to break away from the traditional elevation of the sculpture was to show St Mary of the Cross in her realness, the physical way she walked on this earth among others. Looking up at sculptures gives a sense of greatness but this way people can be with Mary as she was. Understanding that greatness does not come from statue but from within.
The ability for the people to walk around Mary and the two children was a conscious decision so that they didn’t have to reach up to her but be with her as she is with us in our daily living.The ability to interact with her physically is made possible by the outstretched hand which is also an invitation for us to give our intentions to her.