Thursday 20 July 2017

Book Review - 'Our Mob, God's Story'

Official blurb: Our Mob, God's Story is an art book with a difference, with over 100 works in an exciting variety of styles and stories by 65 established and emerging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. 

All proceeds from the sale of the book will go towards the publishing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Scriptures, as currently there is only one complete Bible. 

Published as part of the celebrations for the 200th anniversary of the foundation of Bible Society in Australia in 1817, Australia's longest living organisation. 

I went to the launch of this stunning book in Adelaide not long ago. It's a stunning project which took over five years in the making. Basically, the entire Christian Gospel message is presented through the art of 65 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. From Genesis to Revelation, each double page has a fantastic colour painting or work or art in some other medium such as silk screen printing. There is a short bio of each creator, and a passage explaining in their own words why the scriptures that inspired them are so meaningful.

It's a moving experience just to slowly make our way through the book, turning the pages and pondering each image and the words that go with them. The introductory pages explain how the artists come from right across Australia, making it all the more impacting that their story telling, creative gifts and passion to share the Good News of Jesus have been integrated into this one book. It's a credit to the Bible Society of Australia for facilitating it.

The book is researched and edited by Christabel Mattingley, a prolific Australian author who has worked for over 40 years with Aboriginal people; and Louise Sherman, from the Bible Society, who delves deeply into research, discovering and touching base with the Aboriginal communities.

Because each of the artists still retain copyright of their images, although they've gifted them to this volume for free, I'll refrain from sharing any examples from within the pages. I'll just finish by repeating that taken separately and all together, they are a thing of beauty and it's one of the heaviest books I've purchased. Very well worth having a copy. I'm sure I'll be in the mood to take it out of the shelf several times in years to come, just for the sake of reflection.

Paula Vince is a South Australian author of contemporary, inspirational fiction. She lives in the beautiful Adelaide Hills, with its four distinct seasons, and loves to use her environment as settings for her stories. Her novel, 'Picking up the Pieces' won the religious fiction section of the International Book Awards in 2011, and 'Best Forgotten' was winner of the CALEB prize the same year. She is also one of the four authors of 'The Greenfield Legacy', Australia's first and only collaborated Christian novel. Her most recent novel, 'Imogen's Chance' was published April 2014. For more of Paula's reflections, you may like to visit her book review blog, The Vince Review.


  1. What a cool idea!

    It's important to have the Bible available in ways people can understand and which reflect our different cultures, and we all know it's better to show than tell.

    1. Thanks Iola, it really is a lovely addition to our Bible and resources shelf, and a great coffee table book too.

  2. I was unable to attend the launch, but purchased a copy later. It's a stunningly presented, quality publication. A book to keep for repeat dippings-into. I too was impressed by the representations of faith art from all over our island home.

  3. Thanks for the review, Paula - I had a preview through the Bible Society's daily readings (emailed each day) which had a sampling of the artwork with a short devotional. Truly inspiring.


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