We have had the pleasure of having Mary Roth, a Sydney native and expert in Sacred Art, in our workshops this week. She has agreed to answer some questions to help us learn more about Granda in Australia and New Zealand.
Where does this taste for Sacred Art come from?
Since I was a child I felt a great fascination for the beauty that surrounded me: animals, flowers... nature in general. Whenever I went to a church -I come from a Catholic family- I felt a special attraction for the art it contained. In Australia we have no artistic manifestations of our own prior to the 18th century, so every piece of art I encountered along the way was a discovery for me. The first time I visited Madrid I passed by the Sacred Art store that Granda had in Serrano Street. I was amazed, I thought it was wonderful. In Australia I had never seen a store that sold pieces for worship as beautiful as the ones I saw there. It was one of the things that impressed me the most.
So, did you continue with that restlessness during your teenage and college years?
The truth is that, although my fascination for beauty continued, I decided to take another path and studied nursing. I practiced the profession for many years until 2002 when I was contacted from Spain: they wanted to create a delegation of Talleres de Arte Granda in my country and they were looking for a person responsible for this expansion project. At that moment I remembered my first meeting in that store in the center of Madrid and I left nursing to dedicate myself fully to Sacred Art. Now I have been in the sacred art sector for 15 years and I have not tired of it, how can I get tired of an art that reflects the beauty of God's glory?
What is the situation of Sacred Art in your country?
Since there is no artistic tradition nor the legacy that you have in Europe, there is no great general artistic culture. Years ago I became aware of the need for a sacred art service for priests so that they can maintain the churches with dignity and celebrate worship with the care that the sacred requires. In addition, there is a great work ahead with the faithful, so that they also value and care for the beauty of their temples.
What about Granda Art Workshops?
When we started in 2002 nobody knew us. It was costly at first, until it has become well known and gained the prestige of a house of international artistic quality. I remember the first commission was a tabernacle for the Dean's private chapel in Sydney Cathedral when we had just started. How wonderful to be able to fill the cathedral with our work ten years later, when we were commissioned to make twelve apostles and six saints for the Cathedral. That was the most satisfying commission of all my years in the business.
What projects do you have for the coming months?
I have too many projects in mind that will be known in due time. What I do know is that I am very focused on an idea that has been on my mind for some time: young people have always been very sensitive to beauty and perhaps today they are saturated with mediocre information and lacking in truly beautiful things. I want to reach young people and have them discover the beauty that God reflects. In addition to this I have in mind another project that promotes the installation of chapels in those places where there is suffering and sometimes God is offended, where there can be consolation for those who suffer and reparation for those who offend him.