IPOH, MALAYSIA – For decades, parishioners of Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Ipoh had not realised they were custodians of one of Br Joseph McNally’s masterpieces: a mosaic mural of The Last Supper.
La Salle Br McNally, who passed away on Aug 27, 2002, was the founder of LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore, and a renowned Irish artist.
The mural of the Last Supper was designed to give emphasis to the altar and to hide the exit to the sacristy in the church.
It consisted of various types of stone and glass tesserae, which were made in Italy under Br McNally’s supervision and involvement.
In 1960, accompanied by Br Vincent Joseph Corkery, the sub-director of St Michael’s Institution (SMI) in Ipoh, Br McNally visited the church located at Jalan Silibin. SMI also holds some of Br McNally’s other works.
The mosaic mural was consecrated on Feb 13, 1963, by Bishop Francis Chan and witnessed by more than 1,000 parishioners.
In 2010, during the tenure of Frs Bernard Paul and Stanley Antoni, it was found that many of the mosaic pieces had fallen off and that cracks had appeared.
Commander Ian Anderson, RN (Rtd), director of Ipoh World Sdn Bhd was consulted, and he advised on the need for an expert to restore the mural.
On March 14, 2012, during the tenure of Fr F Anthony, communication was established with Ms Koh Bee Liang of ARTGLASS, Singapore.
The design company, whichhad also restored the stained glass windows of St Joseph’s Church, Victoria Street, restored the mural this year to its former glory for free as a token of appreciation for the works of Br McNally.
The Last Supper mosaic mural was rededicated by parish priest, Fr Robert Daniel Francis and assistant parish priest, Fr Simon Anand Marthamuthu, of Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Ipoh, on Oct 11.
Heritage Gallery, Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, Ipoh