Daughters of Mary Immaculate (F.M.I. Sisters) Vunapope

Detail of FMI Sister, Ramale (AWM Archive) marigold watercolour illustration, Lisa Hilli 2020

Since mid 2018 I’ve been researching shared war history between Australia and Papua New Guinea as part of a creative commission for the Australian War Memorial, supported by the Anzac Centenary Arts and Culture Fund. During a research period in Rabaul I discovered a little know history about the Daughters of Mary Immaculate or F.M.I Sisters of Vunapope Catholic Mission. The F.M.I. Sisters grew and carried food over grueling distances and at the risk of their own lives to many European and Australian interns held at Ramale under Japanese occupation of Rabaul during the Second World War. This artwork when completed seeks to identify and illuminate the history of the F.M.I. Sisters for their strength, labour, dedication and disobedience against Japanese military demands.

This new body of work will be exhibited publicly in an upcoming exhibition in 2021.