Stations of the Cross challenges the sacred vs secular

Stations of the Cross challenges the sacred vs secular

The 2019 Stations of the Cross art exhibition will display the raw emotion of the Easter story with works by a diverse number of artists across a number of disciplines. It is curated by Rev. Dr Doug Purnell and Chris Auckett.

Artists on show in Sydney’s Northmead Creative & Performing Arts High School draw on 14 reflections on the ancient story of Jesus Christ’s path to his crucifixion.

The annual exhibition rejects binary notions of religion versus secularism. Artists interpret the suffering and passion of Jesus’ journey in the light of their own life experiences and the universality of love, grief and loss.

Sydney-based painter, Euan Macleod, is an Archibald Prize winner and repeat exhibitor. He relishes the Stations of the Cross as an opportunity to explore the human condition and his own story.

“Generally, my work has been about my story, but I have kept it as broad as possible so that it becomes related to other people’s stories. We are having a shared experience on a lot of things. That’s exactly what it seems to me, Stations of Cross is about,” he said.

This year, Macleod’s work is based on the episode in the Bible when Jesus is taken down from the cross and held by his mother, Mary.

“I have found it one of the hardest stations to do. Doug Purnell (the senior curator) basically sees it as experiencing the death of your child. I have found that almost too hard to think about. I have two daughters.”

“What I ended painting about is the closure of Watters Gallery in Sydney, the gallery where I have shown for 36 years. It’s…the death of my childhood, in a way, and the death of a future.”

Stations of the Cross artwork by Euan Macleod.

Macleod’s painting has a big brutalist staircase at its centre amid rubble, with a solitary thin male figure, common in Macleod’s work, looking defeated and stooped, walking in front of it. The figure represents the painter, but also ‘Everyman’ facing the unknown or an emptiness.

“The staircase doesn’t go anywhere but absolutely it has a strong metaphor of ascension.”

Stations of the Cross can be seen at Northmead Creative & Performing Arts High School from Monday, 8 April to Sunday, 21 April. Entry to the exhibition is by donation.


  • Exhibition opening night – Monday, 8th April from 6pm to 8pm (refreshments provided)
  • Exhibition opening hours – Tuesday, 9th April to Sunday, 21st April (inclusive) from 10am to 4pm
  • Tuesday, 9th April at 7pm – Living with Grief: a community talk (supper provided)
  • Friday, 12th April 10am to midday – Moderator’s Retreat (depending on numbers a backup day of Wednesday, 10th April has been set aside)
  • Saturday, 13th April – Eremos Retreat from 10am to midday
  • Sunday, 14th April from 6pm – Jazz night – a light meal will be served
  • Tuesday, 16th April from 7.30pm – Wine and Cheese night
  • Friday, 19th April at 9am – Good Friday Service


Jonathan Foye is Insights’ Editor


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