2b: entitled to reverence and respect
In America’s current climate of divisiveness and moral outrage, how does one respond with something better than a tweet? How do we stand up for the powerless? How might we reverence, honor, and dignify those who are often vilified and marginalized in 45’s America?
Perhaps it’s time to answer these questions with something other than words. In my own quiet way, these images are my response.
I spent several months listening to and learning from the friends depicted here. I had to ask myself: what do I, a hetero, cis-gender, middle-class, white male, have to say about transgender people, Muslim women, Latina farm workers, young black men, or Native Americans? The answer: that we are one. That each person has a rightful place as part of the beloved community. I wanted to show that love trumps divisiveness, apathy, race, gender, politics, class, ignorance, fear, and hate. That when we take the time to know one another, to listen and learn, we become more.
So we collaborated to create images that celebrate their history, identity, humanity, and courage through traditional symbolism. In spite of its religious undertones, iconography remains a valid way of speaking about that which is holy--that which we care deeply about, hold dear, consider beautiful and sacred. This type of language is deeply needed today.
This set of 5 large photo-encaustic panels--each of which takes many days to make--together create one body of work. They are crafted of layers of wax and metal, wood and paper, ink and paint: many different elements that create a whole. E pluribus unum.
These people are my brother, sister, mother, father. And they glow from the inside out. As Michael Golz explains, “The subject of the icon is a person transfigured by...love.”