CATH NEWS REPORT: Depicting the history of salvation throughout the rebuilt St Patrick’s Cathedral in Bunbury is the highlight of internationally-renowned West Australian artist Robert Juniper’s career, reports The Record.
Juniper has depicted stories from the Bible for 14 seven-metre high window walls, two rose windows and a five-metre wide tapestry for the new St Patrick’s Cathedral.
Mr Juniper - whose art has been presented in group shows of Australian contemporary art in London, USA, New Zealand, Europe, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia and New Caledonia – became a member of the Order of Australia this year.
“I was very excited. I thought it was going to be a highlight of my artistic career, because of the hugeness of the scale and being on the ground floor of a new Cathedral. Not many artists get that opportunity. I was very honoured and excited to be asked to do the job,” he said.But he said one of his greatest honours was when Cathedral architect Marcus Collins approached him to design the windows, where his trademark depictions of recognisable Australian flora and fauna are ever-present.
Bishop Gerard Holohan was sceptical about the economy of recruiting such a high-profile artist, but a visit to Mr Juniper’s Darlington home studio confirmed to the prelate that “the decision was fairly clear he’d be able to do what we were looking for”.
“The original plan was simply to have colour glass patterns in the windows as we thought we wouldn’t be able to afford an artist. I was going to leave that to future Bishops,” Bishop Holohan said.
“Then Marcus Collins indicated Bob (Juniper) would be interested in the project and, while initially I was sceptical because he’s an artist so great and I didn’t know he could do religious art; but part of my conversion was going to his home looking at his art;” then the decision was clear, he said.
Mr Juniper’s brief was simple: to create images that were understandable to a child and colourful. They must also have a catechetical value.