by Ruth Brisbane
After many years of prayer, fundraising and hard work, the West Australian District and St Johns Lutheran Church in Perth have completed their major project: a striking modern building set next to the historic inner city church.
The Bible has endless stories and images, so I was in my element
The new building is multipurpose. Stage One provides a church hall, kitchen, meeting rooms and offices for the congregation and district, as well as lease income from its tenancies and car park. But it is the exterior walls of the car park that will serve as a statement of faith to passers-by.
When St Johns building committee learnt that planning regulations required one per cent of the project costs to be spent on public art, they seized the opportunity to present gospel images to the surrounding community. The striking metal artwork produced also serves the security and ventilation requirements of the lower level car park.
The sculptured panels were created by shaping and welding solid steel bars and plate, completed with a galvanised finish to create a silver-grey colour.
Artist Voytek Kozlowski was excited by the commission. ‘The Bible has endless stories and images, so I was in my element’, he said.
It was a joy for the St Johns committee and Pastor Andre Meyer to work with Voytek, who understood so well the message behind the images. Voytek was raised in Poland where, he says, his first exposure to visual art came within his boyhood church. As a child he loved to gaze at the wooden carvings that covered the walls, and these images continue to inspire him today. But these days Voytek is drawn to the permanence of working with metal. ‘When I am gone, this will still be here’, he said.
St Johns’ Pastor Andre Meyer described the significance of the images stretching across the six panels: