Artwork by Senior Australian of the Year Miriam Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann
On Australia Day, Miriam Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann was named the Senior Australian of the Year. Her artwork is proudly exhibited at the Institute Centre in Stanmore, NSW. It was commissioned for a national gathering of Sisters of Mercy in ministry with indigenous Australians, held in Alice Springs in 1989.
In our collections we have items of significance to events of the Sisters of Mercy, one treasured item is a vibrant painting by indigenous artist and educator Miriam Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann. The artwork was commissioned by the Institute of Sisters of Mercy (ISMA) for a national gathering of Sisters of Mercy in ministry with indigenous Australians, held in Alice Springs in 1989. Adele Howard RSM, who was a member of the ISMA Leadership Team at the time organised and commissioned the work. The painting depicts a map of Australia on a brilliant orange background with a central image of the mercy cross and footprints.
Mercy Commitment to the Concerns of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, re-named Mercy Aboriginal Justice Network in 1998, had its origins in two national gatherings of sisters in ministry with Indigenous Australians held in Alice Springs in 1989 and 1992. This led to a recommendation to the 1993 National Chapter to appoint a Co-ordinator and set up a support structure. In November 1993 the National Executive Council appointed Sr. Libby Jordan as the Co-ordinator. Her role included developing and resourcing the network of Mercy sisters involved in Aboriginal ministry, liaising with Indigenous organisations and related church and government bodies, supporting sisters involved with Reconciliation, and being responsible for public communication of a national Mercy viewpoint on current issues.
In 1995 a consultative committee was formed and was temporarily named Mercy Commitment to the Concerns of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People. A logo was also developed using the artwork by Miriam Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann from the previous gathering in Alice Springs. Mercy Aboriginal Justice Network focussed and animated Mercy commitment to reconciliation, maintained supportive networks for those engaged in ministry with Indigenous Australians and provided processes for critical reflection on this ministry. The network had two main strands: The Reconciliation Network and the Ministry Network.
In 2000 Mercy Aboriginal Justice Network became a ministry of Mercy Works Inc. which became the ‘umbrella’ and funding body for all the Institute’s Cross-Cultural ministries. The Mercy Aboriginal Justice Network Committee ceased to exist after 30 June 2002.
On January 25, 2021 Miriam Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann was named the Senior Australian of the Year. Her artwork is proudly exhibited at the Institute Centre in Stanmore, NSW as a reminder of the sisters commitment to reconciliation and support of indigenous issues.
For more information on Miriam Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann follow the link below
Note: This text is based on archival material sourced from the ISMA Collection now housed at the Institute Archives and Heritage Centre, Leichardt, NSW.
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