3 Mothers - Icon of Hospitality

Regan O'Callaghan 3 mothers, religious icon, sainthood of all believers, gold leaf, Bishop of London, liturgical colours

This triptych commissioned by the Bishop of London, depicts three smiling women from the congregation of St John on Bethnal Green Church, seated around a table.

The women  reflect the diverse nature of the congregation at St John's as well as the local East End community.

Each woman is a wife, mother, and grandmother, a person of faith and a committed hard working member of their church, something I wanted to celebrate. The three women also symbolise in part the important role of women – particularly older women – in the Church of England.

The opened hand of Mother Pearl is held out to greet the viewer to the table, a place of fellowship and hospitality while Mother Becky and Mother Miriam look on. What offering do you the viewer bring to the table?  The stars on the table cloth symbolise the many descendants of Abraham.  The colours the three women wear represent the Christian liturgical seasons and the gold leaf a belief in the 'sainthood of all believers.'

Prints of the 3 Mothers are available here

Saint Saviour

 Regan O'Callaghan saint Saviour's Pimlico, London church, religious icon, egg tempera, gold leaf, church entranceI am based in a studio at Saint Saviour's Church Pimlico. Last year the Church Council commissioned me to write an icon for the church and it was completed and dedicated this Easter.  Here is a description of the icon.

The nails of the crucifixion are being carried off by the rose vine. They no longer pierce and maim but are being transformed by the creative power of the Divine.  The arch is based on the front entrance of Saint Saviour's Church. In this icon it is the entrance to the tomb.  Above Jesus's head is a crown of thorns which has also been redeemed. Jesus's hands are held out as if to say "look these hands which have been stretched and deformed by torture still bear the marks of that torture".  In the Gospel of John, Mary Magdalene goes to embrace the risen Jesus when she recognises him outside the tomb. He says to her " Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father". I understand this as meaning Jesus is still in a period of transition. The flowing patterns or Koru on his robes begin to show the change from linear masculine lines of dogma to creative shapes and patterns more associated with the feminine. A balance between the two states of being reflecting the true likeness of God.