New Exhibition • Jesus in Melbourne

Photography by Geoff Shaw

We were delighted to open a new exhibition ‘Jesus in Melbourne’ by Melbourne artist Michael Donnelly on Sunday 12 February. 

Jesus in Melbourne is an ongoing series of monoprints begun in 1995. The first group of prints was exhibited as ‘Christ in Melbourne’ in 1995 at St John’s Southgate. A second group entitled ‘Passion Suite’ was shown at the St Francis Pastoral Centre in 2001.

Michael has located the story of Jesus’ life in Melbourne, just as the Australian painter Arthur Boyd had done 70 years earlier. 

The works ask: What would it be like and how would we respond, if Jesus lived in contemporary Melbourne? If Jesus came to twenty-first century Melbourne, who would he associate with? How would he be treated?

Would Jesus be popular or scorned in contemporary Melbourne? Could he be cheered into Melbourne along Swanston Street, then discredited by the media and bashed in the city lock-up? Would he be weeping over what he saw in the city from the top of the Westgate Bridge? Could he agonise over suffering for others at the Myer Music Bowl and be arrested in the Royal Botanic Gardens? Could he end up crucified at Chadstone Shopping Centre? Would he celebrate his resurrection on the beach at Elwood?

The Artist: Michael Donnelly. Credit: Geoff Shaw.

Michael Donnelly is a Melbourne/East Gippsland-based artist who has held numerous solo exhibitions since 1984. He has worked as an art educator in secondary schools and with students who have vision impairments. Michael shares his time between studios in Melbourne on Wurundjeri lands and in Lake Tyers Beach on the lands of the Gunaikurnai peoples. He is an active member of the Uniting Church in Ashburton and Lakes Entrance.

The exhibition is now on display in the Cathedral’s Transept Gallery, until Monday 10 April 2023, and is available to view during the Cathedral’s regular visiting hours.

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