Faith expressed through art helps us understand God’s work

Winning artwork chosen

“I created something using materials that are considered only good for the compost and transformed them into a basket that won a prize. It made me think, ‘If I can do that, what can God do with me?’.”

Claire Freeman is the winner of the 2022 Faith and the Arts prize with her piece Reflection Basket.

Drawing on her traditional Torres Strait Island weaving practice, Claire used sustainable materials such as banana leaf, raffia and Japanese paper to create a basket that is as meaningful as it is practical.

“It can be ‘dunked’ in water and reshaped and refined in much the same way God plunges us into situations to reshape and refine – and we emerge in a different form of ourselves,” Claire said.

She said her artwork invites us to look at ourselves and each other.

“The outside is rough with awkward jutting edges. This is how we see ourselves, how the world sees us and how we see others.”

The stitching on the inside is God’s continual work of creation within, through and around us.

Claire argued that we often don’t recognise this work of God. “We forget that God is ever present, holding us together, particularly in times of desolation when the path is unclear,” she said.

The 2022 Faith and the Arts Prize was offered by Trinity College Queensland and invited artists, writers and musicians to create a piece of art, music, short film or literature that expressed their faith or explored their experience of how art and faith integrate and interrelate.

Trinity Principal Dr Paul Jones was impressed by the quality of the entries received for the prize.

“It’s wonderful to see how people are expressing their faith through their artistic endeavours,” he said.

“We are grateful to our sponsor to be able to offer this prize again in 2023 and look forward to it becoming a regular part of Trinity life.”

Claire entered the competition to explore her own faith journey and identity in Christ. “Art connects us all to identity and culture,” she says. “Throughout this journey, I am discovering the wonder of God is at its richest in the ordinary.”

The connection between the God of the universe and human artistic expression is at the heart of the Faith and the Arts unit offered by Trinity College Queensland in Semester 2, 2022.

Over four months, unit coordinator Dr Victoria Lorrimar invited four skilled artists to ‘perform’ at Friday night events, discussing their passion, and revealing the influence of the Spirit on their expression.

Guests were visual artist Lyn Diefenbach, jazz musician Chris Poulsen and his trio, celebrated Young Adult author Claire Zorn, and film commentator (and Trinity Principal) Paul Jones.

The Friday night events were open to the public and students of Faith and the Arts unit gathered on the Saturdays following the four monthly guest appearances.

Dr Lorrimar said: “Faith isn’t just an intellectual exercise and art is able to engage our whole self, including our imagination and emotions.”

“Art is the means through which some best express their faith. It helps many more make sense of, and deepen, their faith.”

Dr Lorrimar said the overall approach to teaching and assessments at Trinity is to encourage students to do what they’re good at.

“One of the things we love about the community at Trinity is how artistic it is,” she says. “We’ve been consciously putting this into our assessment options and our regular course offerings. The time came to have a whole unit dedicated to it.”

The Faith and the Arts Prize was offered as part of the unit.

As well as being influenced by the Creator, winner Claire Freeman’s artistic flair is also being used by God.

“I teach weaving in places which can be challenging, including prisons, sexual assault support organisations, rehabilitation clinics and public community groups,” she said.

“The message is always the same regardless of who I am with, that each of us, in all our small wins and huge failings, are deeply loved by God.”

At Trinity, we understand the value of inquiry-based learning and we offer courses that reflect this – such as Faith and the Arts. Check out this video as Principal Paul Jones walks us through this kind of learning experience at Trinity.

Want to explore more of what Trinity has to offer? Contact us by email [email protected] or phone 07 3377 9950.