I have chosen to paint a contemporary portrait of Deaconess May Walker. She was known as ‘The Lady in Blue’, or ‘The Blue Angel’. After researching Spring Hill history, I came across Deaconess May Walker, on a Brisbane City Council website. She began working in Spring Hill in 1912, an article explains how she would walk around the suburb helping people, particularly women and children. “Her navy blue deaconess uniform became a familiar sight in Spring Hill, and many old residents still remember the ‘Lady in Blue’ who distributed clothing and food to the needy” (The Courier-Mail, 4 December 1952). A mission hall was built for her on Fortescue Street in the 1920’s by the Presbyterian church. The hall became a community centre where those in need could go and be kindly given “food and clothing, and nursing also” (Sunday Mail, 6 August 1933). I couldn’t find much information on her so I contacted St Andrews. They generously supplied me with some photos and news articles of her. One of which I chose to recreate for the box.
I am painting her portrait, to honour her legacy, and pay tribute to the act of ‘giving’ and selflessness in the service of others.