We usually begin contemporary icons with a historical image or biblical text. As I collected traditional narrative scenes like the Baptism of Christ, the River Jordan, the Last Supper, and Pentecost, a resounding affirmation surged within me. Women were there. Not even included as silent witnesses or invisible figures on the periphery, none if any active participants. I wanted to see more, each with her own voice, her own perspective, her own contribution. While the theological, visual, and textual portrayals might have often excluded women, the truth of our presence reverberates through the corridors of history. In the heart of my icon depicting the Holy Spirit’s advent at Pentecost, six women from the Bible are seated alongside their male apostolic counterparts. This contemporary icon composition was woven from the threads of faith, intention, and reverence, and stands as a testament to the multiplicity of narratives that enrich our shared spiritual heritage.
Illuminating Untrodden Paths: A Dissident’s Journey
Revelations through Meditation. The essence of my meditations has led me to a resounding truth—a truth that resided not only within the ancient texts but echoed through the realms of my contemplative communion. I discovered that, unequivocally, the Holy Spirit’s embrace extended to all apostles and followers. Through the lens of my introspection, the narratives of history became a tapestry woven with threads of divine communion wit images. In those quiet moments of meditation, I perceived an unbroken connection between humanity and the divine.
CONFRONTING AUTHORITY when you are exploring the status quo.
In my quest to create new contemporary icons, I noticed an abundance of women on their knees, standing with Crosses in their hands (an attribute of martyrdom) or a jar (alluding to the service of the women at the tomb). Women can be portrayed with more than these three usual attributes. It would broaden the message of Christ for all of us. My collections are a proclamation to provoke conversation about the ancient story. The contemporary compositions are a harmonious fusion of tradition and innovation.
My unorthodox interpretations of iconography and the profound truth they represent have not always been greeted with open arms by other iconographers or traditionalists. Our world has always had a faction of guardians of truth and they naturally desire to reign supreme. In archaeology, science, medicine, legislation, iconography, etc. there are those who want to maintain and sustain the status quo. These guardians are valuable however the constraints of conventional thinking limit the creativity that designed the universe in the first place. There is no singular unchanging narrative for anything in our galaxy. My hope is to participate in keeping us flexible and open-minded. I with many walk a solitary path, one that is built on our ancestors and their understanding.
This hierarchy of authorities, bound by their unrelenting pursuit of what they deem as “truth, ” vehemently defends the established practices. Their scrutiny over contemporary icons, , extends beyond the realm of artistry; it seeps into the very heart of meditation and its transformative power. These guardians of tradition harbor a legalistic and narrow perspective that inhibits the fluidity of creative expression.
Their conviction that the insights and perspectives of women (outside of Mary the mother of God) hold no relevance in the realm of faith is a stance that reverberates through the corridors of time. A telling example of this ideological friction lies in my radical inclusion of Earth within my contemporary icons—an act that has stirred the waters of disapproval. Within sanctioned iconography, the Earth remains conspicuously absent, an omission rooted in the fact that the early creators of icons could not fathom their existence on a celestial body hurtling through space and time. It is within this seemingly inconspicuous gap that I discern a narrative longing to be voiced—a narrative of humanity’s place within the cosmos.
In Conclusion about Contemporary Icons
I stand unwavering in my belief that painting and meditation are vehicles for profound change and awakening. They are channels through which we encounter the divine, and through which we grapple with the grandeur of our existence. My creative choice to incorporate the Earth is a symbolic testament to this evolving awareness—an acknowledgment of our connection to a planet birthed by the hands of divinity. It is a celebration of our shared journey on this celestial voyage, an invitation to rejoice in the grand tapestry of creation.