Saturday, 31 August 2013

Church of the Holy Family at Joo Chiat, Katong

View of the church from across the junction
Church of the Holy Family
During my Uni days, weekends meant a bus ride to East Coast Park for an afternoon of in-line skating along the beach. My bus’ route passes this Catholic church attended mainly by Eurasians living in the region. The Church of the Holy Family was established in 1902 here. The church building has gone through a few incarnations, but this current embodiment was consecrated in 1999, just before the new millennium. Apart from the very dramatic roof design, which was what caught my attention initially, the real pièce de résistance is the massive 16-panel stained glass on the side of the building, above the centrepiece altar, depicting the Holy Family and 16 scenes from Jesus' life.

Stained Glass Panel
The stained glass window by Joel Mone
My recent trips to Europe gave me a new appreciation for stained glass art featured on religious buildings. A little digging and I learnt that Joël Mône, who incidentally also crafted the stained glass panel for the chapel at CHIJMES two years prior, is the creator of the stained glass piece for the Church of the Holy Family. The artist, whose main artistic influences include Piet Mondrian, M. C. Escher and Claude Monet, was commissioned to create it for the church by the Vitrail Saint-Georges atelier in Lyon, France. Apparently, the architect and the church gave him complete autonomy with the colour choices, staining method, themes and composition of the stained glass. An interesting point to note is that the glass pieces blown plated pink-gray have been specially designed for this glassware at St Just St Rambert, France.

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