This project has sprung from my love of Celtic Christianity, it's ethos of learning and living alongside. Studied as part of my first year of Theology degree, the idea that each new follower or community member brings something new of themselves to a faith space, therefore impacting a change which is to be embraced speaks deeply to my belief that our difference and individualism, as created by God, is something to be celebrated, and that indeed, this diversity has always been a major part of His plan for us to learn from each other another facet of our Creator God's personality, being each made in His image, there are no mistakes.
I am all too keenly aware of the reality of patriarchy within both society and sadly still within the church. We have come a long way but that doesn't mean there isn't further we need to go and more we need to be working towards.
"The first duty of love is to listen" - Paul Tillich
To those who cannot see or haven't experienced this, now quieter undercurrent, I pray they never have to. This should however never be a reason to close our ears and not listen to those who continue to experience it.
As a woman and a single woman at that...
Unfortunately, as a woman and a single woman at that, I can promise it's still there, disguised more, often in humour, vocabulary and the particularly quietly in the roles we're expected and asked to fulfill.
Patriarchy isn't just a womans problem...
Equally, patriarchy affects men also within those attitudes of 'men don't cry', can't wear certain colours, must fulfill certain roles and stereotypes if they wish to be seen as men.
We are, after all, all created in God's image, free to be gloriously who He has made us to be.
Having learned about Etheldreda, the 7th century founder of the city of Ely, and her story of forced marriage, her need to flee from abuse and the suppression she faced of her faith choices, made me realise how relevant these themes still are, particularly within women's stories today some 14 centuries on.
This fact especially has inspired 'Unveiled Faces'.
What's the project?
To collate and celebrate both ancient and modern female faith stories.
Starting with ancient Saint stories linked with UK cathedrals, painting their stylised iconostasis alongside a painted pink cathedral that they are linked with. To then find a modern (last 100 year) female faith story connected to the same cathedral, and by making a representation of them also in the same stylised modern iconostasis manner. Heavily loaded with symbolism these paintings are less portrait and more celebration of the story of their fierce faith.