New Zealand Mosaic Art

This mosaic, called ‘Renewing The Earth’, has been produced for a wall at Baradene College in Auckland.

Con Kiernan was commissioned to produce a mosaic wall to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Janet Erskine Stuart’s death in Britain. At the time she was Mother Superior of The Sacred Heart Sisters. She came to New Zealand in 1914 around the time of the establishment of Baradene College in Auckland and died that same year on returning to Britain. She was the first Superior General to travel extensively, visiting the Society in many parts of the world.  She is remembered as an outstanding educator, was a recognised leader in education in Britain and established firm views of what girls’ education should be like for her schools all over the world. Her major contribution lay in taking girls’ education seriously.

5100 mm long and 1500 mm wide, it was a massive undertaking taking six months to complete. This mosaic, done in glass, tile and smalti with stainless steel features included, is created in triptych form, each part approximately the same size except for a tapering effect at the top of each side panel.

Con explains,”the girls at the college produced ideas for me to work on based on their experience of being ‘Baradene girls’ so I had to interpret their ideas in a whole lot of images that reflected the girls’ thinking about their education and what it all means for their future lives. The girls also helped put some of the mosaic on the substrate for eventual grouting.”

As for Janet Stuart, I had a black and white photo to work from and the result of imagining what her flesh coloured mosaic face would look like in Italian smalti is shown in the close-up photo … a very painstaking job.

About Janet Erskine Stuart

Janet Erskine Stuart – Society of the Sacred Heart Australia New Zealand

Janet Erskine Stuart was the Superior General of the Society of the Sacred Heart 1911-1914. She was an outstanding educator, spiritual writer and director.

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