Satellite Imaging Corporation (SIC) was commissioned by Microsoft Pty. in Australia to collect a high resolution IKONOS satellite image on Friday, January 26, 2007 over the town of New Norcia in West Australia on Australia Day, a national Australian holiday.
On January 26, the mission became a complete success when the IKONOS satellite sensor captured a practically cloud-free image of Peace, a scene created from a painting. The satellite imagery was acquired at 02:36:34.8 GMT, or 11:36:34.8 Western Australian time.
The 100m x 90m scene was recreated from an image by three Yuat artists. While Sheila Humphries, Fatima Drayton, and Deborah Nannup had never worked together, despite being related, they came together for the project, which was aimed at uniting Australians on the 40th anniversary of the 1967 referendum that recognized Aboriginal people as citizens.
One of the three projects photographed from space was part of the National Australia Day Council’s Look Up and Smile project. Titled Peace, the artwork was created by using semi-trailers to carefully lay tones of sand in a sheep paddock that belonged to a 160-year-old Benedictine monk community located in New Norcia. Sheila sees art like religion, as it is about making a link with the past in order to find a way of looking at the present. In 1846, a group of Spanish Benedictine monks arrived to set up a monastery with the purpose of civilizing and evangelizing the Aboriginal people of New Norcia. These symbols are traditional to the Yuat area, and they show men and women who have traveled from outlying campsites to sit in a common place to meet, talk, and tell stories.