The Australian social care charity Samaritans is staging an art exhibition at Christ Church Cathedral in Newcastle to promote Reconciliation Week. The Sea of Hands exhibition features 400 colourful hands to symbolise the charity’s commitment to reconciliation and to acknowledge that much work still needs to be done. National Reconciliation Week runs from 27 May to 3 June and is designed to provide an opportunity for “all Australians to learn more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories, to share that knowledge and help us grow as a nation,”according to its organisers, Reconciliation Australia.
The Sea of Hands exhibition is “an act of recognition – of identities, cultures and history,” Samaritans’ acting chief executive Brad Webb told the Newcastle Herald newspaper. “I hope that the Sea of Hands inspires our community this week to reach out, listen, and learn from the wisdom of the oldest living culture on Earth.”
The Bishop of Newcastle, Peter Stuart, is the president of the Samaritans Foundation. In a Facebook post he said: “It is vital that we listen deeply to the story of the aboriginal nations in the areas we serve. We will grow together as partners: hand in hand. This work is of particular importance for Anglicans. Our story is entwined with the story of the Crown and colonisers. We have much to learn and reflect on.”