Editor-In-Chief: Charbel Baini

Marcelle Mansour’s “Threshold” Art Exhibition at Mary MacKillop Place Museum





Marcelle Mansour’s “Threshold” Art Exhibition 
Was Opened By Mr Tony Issa OAM MP 
At Mary MacKillop Place Museum 
 Calling For Change

Threshold solo Art Exhibition by Artist Marcelle Mansour was opened by Mr Tony ISSA, OAM MP, Member of the Legislative Assembly, Member for Granville and Member of the Liberal Party on Wednesday, December 10 2014 at Mary MacKillop Place Museum North Sydney. In the presence of The Rev., the Hon Fred Nile, Mr Fred and Mrs Sylvania Nile, Parliamentary Leader Christian Democratic Party, Assistant President NSW Legislative Council; His Excellency Mr George Bitar Ghanem, Consul General Of Lebanon; Rev Fr Michal Zghaib Parish Priest of Sts Michael and Gabriel Antiochian Orthodox Church at Ryde; Rev Fr Fadi Nemme and wife Khourya Meriam Parish Priest of St Michael Antiochian Orthodox Church; Rev and Writer Fr Yousif Jazrawy Parish Priest of St. Mary Assyrian Church of the East Church and Mr Emil Dan, Historian, Consultant and Publisher; from St George Orthodox Cathedral, Redfern. 

Also in the presence of members of Mary MacKillop Place Museum who hosts the exhibition including. Sister Bridget Sipa RSJ, Director of Mary MacKillop Place; the Congregational Leader of the Sisters of St Joseph; Sr Monica Cavanagh, Members of the Leadership Team: Sister Louise Reeve, Sisters: Sister Catherine Shelton, Sister Marion Gambin and Sister Maryellen Thomas, Edwina Huntley, the Museum Curator and Christine Richards; Museum Coordinator/Educator and the MC of the evening event. 
A number of community Organizations attended including: Dr Alaa Alawadi and his wife Mrs Nadia Alawadi, President of Sawaki for Culture and Arts, Dr Emad Berro and his son Mr Ali Berro, Representative of the Australian Arabic Cultural Centre -Boutros Indari Forum-, Mr Khader Dabeet and his wife Mrs Bertha Dabeet, President of Gaza Orthodox Christian Association of Australia, Mr Joseph Mekary, President, of Association of Zgharta, Mr Maroun Saleh & his wife Mrs Elizabeth Saleh, Representative of, El Marada Australia, Mr Johnny Moreb, Representative of the United Australian Lebanese Movement and  Ms Nevine Iskander, Director of Coptic Orphans Australia, Ms Bahia Betty Abou Hamad - Lawyer and President Of the Arabic Folk Poetry in Australia and the Arab World.
Members of the Australian-Arabic Media, representing Print, Radio, On-Line, and independent: Includes Mr Joseph Khoury, OAM, Editor –In-Chief,  Almrestaqbal (Future) the Lebanese and Arabic Newspaper,  Mr Hani Elturk and his wife Mrs Elizabeth Elturk, Journalist and Editor of the Australian Affairs in El-Telegraph Arabic newspaper, representing El-Telegraph and Alanwar Newspapers, Nadine Chaar Director of Sout Elfarah Radio,  Mrs Colette Paul Sarkis, Media of the Museum and the Palace of Youssef Bey Karam, Poets and Writers: Mr Fouad Neeman El-Khoury and his daughter Ms Lamya El-Khoury, Dr Raghid Nahhas, Mr Sabah Abdul Raman and Mr Haidar Kareem, Other prominent personalities and well respected community members included Dr Yahiya Saleh and his wife Mrs Carol Saleh, Mr Adel El Hassan, Mr Karim Abiad, Mr Alex Abdul Nour Azzouni, Mr Fred Ibrahim, Ramzi Wardini, Mr Paul Shwairy, Mr Patrick Tabbiche, Mr Mazen Elturk, Mr Hanna Tarazi, Mr Richard and Mrs Myrna Kouchoo, Mrs Mandy Farag, Mr and not to forget Mr Maurice Mansour, Christopher and Matthew Mansour
Christine Richards; Museum Coordinator/Educator performed the MC of the evening event. 
Sister Bridget Sipa RSJ, Director of Mary MacKillop Place, welcomed and thanked everybody (by name} who attended the opening of the Exhibition and stated in her invaluable speech:”This is an exciting, extraordinary and fitting event to hold this art exhibition, Threshold, on our premises. When Edwina Huntley our curator presented the proposal to hold this art exhibition in the Museum I was immediately energised by the concept presented by Marcelle and in her words ‘I have attempted to use light as a material to impinge the medium of perception. Light is a magical elixir that we experience to recreate our reality in the world through our sensory body.’ Marcelle has presented us with spirituality through art. One of the aims at Mary MacKillop Place is to expose pilgrims to an experience of faith, a deeper understanding of self and our relationship with God, our model of course is St Mary MacKillop. St Mary was always responsive to God’s call and Marcelle in her work is inviting us to do so.” 
The Hon Fred Nile, Parliamentary Leader Christian Democratic Party, Assistant President NSW Legislative Council;  spoke few key words and congratulated both Sister Bridget Sipa RSJ, Director of Mary MacKillop Place, the Congregational Leadership team of St Joseph Sisters and the Artist Marcelle Mansour on hosting such a splendid contemporary art exhibition for a considerable period of time. He expressed his respect and wishes for such a spiritual and intellectual exhibition may ensure a harmonious development of national and international peace and tolerance among societies and nations. 

Ms Edwina Huntley, the Museum Curator explained extensively about Threshold art exhibition, its concept and the purpose behind it. She highlighted the importance of having a contemplative contemporary spiritual art. “I am reminded of Kandinsky (1866 –1944) who was an influential Russian painter and art theorist. He was an artist as a prophet whose artworks and colours were primarily concerned with evoking a spiritual resonance.” Edwina said. This kind of art is important for ignition silent meditation. It is an active way of praying that engages the mind, senses and spirit that designed to transform the inner depth and reflect the mutual respect shared among many Australians and building and strengthening ties between communities. It is a fresh affirmation that we from different origins are called to contribute in creating a more peaceful and more just world.”
Mr Tony Issa OAM MP made a lengthy speech about Threshold Art Exhibition, which includes 15 artwork pieces that reveal the rich imagination and intellectuality of the artist. Mr Issa stated that he needs nearly three weeks to talk about all the Artworks and will end up writing a book. Therefore he selected the artwork titled bread of life as an example, for it summarises the artist’s identity that symbolising Jerusalem, the Holy land of Palestine. Mr Tony Issa stated:“Through her artistic creativity, Marcelle performs a significant role of an ambassador for Palestine in showing the world the big wound of her occupied land and raising her voice, calling for spiritual transformation and sociol-political change towards humanistic values of freedom, justice, and peace.”
Moreover, Marcelle understands the challenges immigrants face in coming to a new country and has combined her faith and artistic gifts to become a unifying force amongst the diverse ethnic communities in Australia. Her artwork is universal, consequently appealing to many people and contributing greatly to multiculturalism, spiritual, social, and political harmony. 
Marcelle Mansour, the Visual Artist thanked all members of Mary MacKillop Place Museum who are currently hosting and presenting her Solo Art Exhibition for the next nearly four months.  Marcelle thanked all the Sisters by name Bridget Sipa RSJ, Director of Mary MacKillop Place; the Congregational Leader of the Sisters of St Joseph; Sr Monica Cavanagh, Members of the Leadership Team: Sister Louise Reeve, Sisters: Sister Catherine Shelton, Sister Marion Gambin and Sister Maryellen Thomas. Edwina Huntley, the Museum Curator and Christine Richards, Museum Coordinator/Educator, friends, and staff of Mary MacKillop Place and all members of Australian Arabic speaking backgrounds who attended and made the special event successful. Then Marcelle presented her own Ekphrasis poem of “Spiritual Dialogue with Light” which she specially designed it to describe her spiritual art exhibition of Threshold. Her articulate and true emotional poetry reading was highlighted by the music performance played by the Australian Palestinian talented Nay player Mr Alex Abdul Nour Azzouni (Architecture Engineer), representing a “truthful” reflection of both artists’ talents. 
It is worth mentioning that Threshold Art Exhibition by Marcelle Mansour has been included in Group Show New York City gallery space in March 2014 and was described as “thoughtful and inspiring”. The exhibition also coincides with the world commemorating the centenary of the First World War, along with UN declaring 2014 as the ‘Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People’, Threshold focuses on spiritual and socio-political change, hoping to end war and to celebrate the rebirth of world peace within justice and democracy.
Rev Fr Michal Zghaib congratulated Marcelle and presented her with an armour award for her “Threshold” artistic work, on behalf of Sts Michael and Gabriel Church. He thanked her for inviting him to such a contemplative contemporary spiritual art exhibition, which is added to the ones he previously viewed and said: “I am very proud to have Marcelle as one of the Parish member of the church, for her works seem to have more of the divine and transcendental transparency about them which make them a source of inspiration and pride to bringing harmony between people. I will keep praying to God to provide Marcelle with strength and to enlighten her path in life so she can offer more spiritual and humanistic services through her gifted talents and abilities.”He also said. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Sister Brigitte Director of MMP, Edwina Huntley, Museum Curator and Christine Richards, Museum Educator for their generous offer to present this invaluable exhibition. I would also like to congratulate Marcelle Mansour on her fantastic work and to present to her, a special plaque as a token of appreciation for her creative work.”

Dr Alaa Alawadi, President of Sawaki for Culture and Arts also presented Marcelle Mansour with an armour award for her continuous artistic services which is currently culminated by Threshold Art Exhibition, accompanied by her creative presentation of her own Ekphrasis poem of “Spiritual Dialogue with Light” in the Museum of Mary MacKillop Place. “I congratulate Marcelle on her remarkable art exhibition and her extraordinary creative piece of the poetic descriptive of visual artwork. It is definitely has a positive purpose behind it to bringing harmony, respect and peace among people in our Australian society.” He said.

The Exhibition ended by Cake cutting, Refreshments and Champaign were served. The event was very successful for both Mary MacKillop Place members and the artist Marcelle Mansour, which was celebrated with distinguished guests, journalists, community members and friends. 

Threshold Art Exhibition is currently on display at Mary MacKillop Place Museum, 7 Mount Street, North Sydney, Daily 10.00 to 4.00, closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. 11 December 2014 to 30 March 2015. Links:
 http://www.marymackillopplace.org.au/whatson/fx-articles.cfm?loadref=106&id=156
https://www.ravencontemporary.com.au/exhibitions/threshold/
http://www.art-almanac.com.au/whats-on/sydney/
www.marcellemansour.com.au

Marcelle Mansour 
10 Dec 2014

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