In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1

In many ways 2021 was a new beginning at Nungalinya. The immediate threat of COVID had lessened and we welcomed back large numbers of students to the College. We also launched our newest course: ‘Art and Faith’! It is very much an answer to prayer; for a number of years staff and students have been dreaming of a space and course where students can express their faith through their traditional artistic knowledge, whilst also growing in the practical skills of working in the art industry. Almost all remote communities are connected to a local art centre, and so employment outcomes are also very strong. The NT government got on board with the vision and the first art course at Nungalinya since the early 2000s could begin!

 In February, much hard work was completed as the new Art Training Centre was renovated, and data projectors, screens, tables, chairs, storage cupboards and paints of every variety were ordered in! In March students arrived, travelling in from 10 different communities. The theme for the four-week intensive was creation, and the Biblical account in Genesis 1-3 provided the inspiration for many of the drawings and paintings.

Some deep prayer and thinking took place around the relationship between the Scriptures and traditional cultural stories and a wonderful collaborative atmosphere was created by trainers Sal Moes and Kerry McCarthy, herself a local Indigenous artist.

A real highlight of the month was the Chapel service led by the ‘Art and Faith’ class, who showcased their art works and shared through word, song and dance of their growth in trusting our great God. It was also a foretaste of what is to come when the class returns in August as we plan a Dry Season outdoor public-exhibition of art in our very own ‘Garden of Eden’ at Nungalinya! Praise God for the way he gifts His people to love and serve him in so many amazing ways and styles!



Jo Cuttabut studies at Nungalinya, since Term 4 2020 has worked tirelessly as our weekday host and was a vital member of our first cohort of ‘Art and Faith’. He has become our artist-in-residence!


Title: The Positioning
Date:  2021
Dimensions: 136 cm Long by 63cm wide.
Medium: Natural pigments on cement board with a burning on a pine wood frame.
Artist: Joe Cuttabut


Thirteen students were selected from communities throughout the Northern Territory to be part of the inaugural Art & Faith course at Nungalinya College. This artwork depicts these students coming together with humble hearts to learn new approaches to art through a faith-lens and explore the dichotomy of religious art and Indigenous art in a culturally sensitive way.


This work was done on cement sheet framed by construction pine salvaged from a building site at Nungalinya. The frame itself is burnt in places and stained with decking oil. All materials used to create this artwork were at no cost. The natural pigments come from rocks found in the ground and stones in various beach locations between Casuarina cliffs and Rapid creek.

Spiritual Meaning:

This whole work is a physical contract between Indigenous people at Nungalinya and God to reveal himself more to us in a way that transcends our normal way of doing art. It involves praying and asking God to permeate through our respective culture, draw us closer to Him through such a process and reveal this transformation through our collective artworks.




Will you help support our new ‘Art and Faith’ course? The NT government has supplied funding only for 2021, and our Indigenous Board is committed to seeing the course established as a sustainable pathway for Elders to express their faith through authentic spirituality. But we need further funding to make this vision a reality.

I thank you for your on-going prayers for Nungalinya College and its ministry to empower Indigenous brothers and sisters to serve the Lord. Please consider supporting us to ensure ministries like the wonderful ‘Art and Faith’ course can continue into the future.


Yours in Christ,

Ben van Gelderen
Nungalinya College