Indigenous art book wins Christian literature award

An art book illustrating the faith stories of First Peoples has been awarded the top prize at this year’s SparkLit awards.

The Bible Society’s Our Mob, God’s Story: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Artists Share Their Faith took out the 2017 Australian Christian Book of the Year award.

The book features more than 100 images of Indigenous art inspired by biblical stories from the Creation to the Crucifixion. Sixty-six Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists contributed to the publication and the editors spent seven years researching and collating the artwork.

The April Crosslight included a review of Our Mob, God’s Story and one of the artwork featured as the front cover of that issue.

Louise Sherman, who co-edited the book with Christobel Mattingley, thanked the artists for sharing their faith stories.

“Your creativity, generosity and faith have been my inspiration. We all have a story to tell and it all fits into God’s story,” Ms Sherman said.

“We have many unique voices in this country, particularly Indigenous voices that the world needs to hear.

“We need to learn to listen to and respect each other’s stories. Jesus takes the canvas of our lives and turns it into a beautiful painting, rich in colour and wonder.”

All proceeds from the book will go towards the publication of scripture in Indigenous languages.

The Young Australian Christian Writer award for writers under 30 years of age was presented to E P George for her story The Bidura Effect.

In this short story, the faith and attitudes of a young social worker are transformed through his encounter with an elderly Aboriginal grandmother whose children were taken away from her.

In her acceptance speech, Ms George reminded audience of the injustice and discrimination faced by First Peoples today.

“It’s easy to say that the walls are being built out there, that out there hatred and terrorism have won,” Ms George said.

“But I wrote this piece because it’s simply not true. In our own backyard, our First Peoples stand as second-rate citizens.

“The gap between black and white in Australia feels as wide as it’s ever been. The cycles of poverty our First Peoples are locked into are more than just educational or financial – they’re relational.”

Ms George worked with families affected by the Stolen Generations and said her experiences inspired her to write The Bidura Effect.

“It’s for freedom that Christ has set us free. So let us stand firm in this freedom and ride out against the yoke of slavery that our nation has placed against its First Peoples,” she said.

The Australian Christian Teen Writer award was given to 14-year-old Tanya Strydom for her story Sir Tain and the Peasant’s Sword.




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