Russian iconography meets street art in church mural

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The Church of the Annunciation, Camp Hill now features a mural called ‘The Annunciation’, which blends 20th century Russian iconography and modern street art attitude

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The Church of the Annunciation, Camp Hill now features a mural called ‘The Annunciation’, which blends 20th century Russian iconography and modern street art attitude.

The mural is based on a work by 20th century Russian iconographer, Vasiliy Myazin and was designed and painted by artist, Harry Imam, the convenor of the West End Street Art Festival.

Mr Imam, who has undertaken some significant installations at the University of Queensland, aimed to connect with contemporary community aesthetics, while portraying the church as a lively, communal space.

Artist Harry Imam painting the mural, ‘The Annunciation’

One of the major challenges for our church is street visibility. The 1970s-brick building seemed to be receding into the earth and the shrubs, and so we needed to do something bold if we were to get noticed.

The mural depicts the Archangel Gabriel’s appearance to Mary in the Gospel of Luke: “Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you” to which she responded, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; be it unto me according to your word.”

Soon she sings a new canticle, The Magnificat: “God has shown strength with his arm, and scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their seat, and exalted the humble and meek. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away.”

Mary’s song of revolution became, of course, the great evening hymn of the Church.

The Annunciation to Mary is about one young woman’s discovery that she, too, will be great.  She, too, has a priestly ministry, even in an ancient, patriarchal culture.  She, too, will help bring God’s reign upon the earth.

But the Annunciation is also about us. God addresses each of us and, like Mary, we make our response.

God speaks a mysterious Word in us. A seed is growing in us and needs watering. One part of priestly ministry is helping people discern who they are and how they can serve humanity.

The Church can offer young people, in particular, an atmosphere of stillness and sociality where they can find themselves in God.

We can encourage things like meditation, group spiritual direction, life writing, or the enneagram.

As St Augustine said: “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”

Wasn’t that the conviction of St Augustine? I believe it’s the right approach for these times.

There will be a Service of Evensong, a 17th century candlelight service, at 6.00pm, Sunday 10 March in the Church of the Annunciation, 101 Watson Street, Camp Hill. Bishop John Roundhill will bless the mural, ‘The Annunciation’. Refreshments will follow. All are welcome to attend.

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