Saint Sebastian

Regan O'Callaghan Saint Sebastian, religious icon, gay icon, egg tempera, gold leaf, contemporary

In 2009 I designed an icon of St Sebastian that is contemporary in style but conveying an apt message.  I wanted to talk about the erotic and sexuality in faith and spirituality.  Fear and ignorance though often mean such topics are not spoken about within some religious circles.  It is almost as if some people have let their own hands be tied behind their backs but when they look they see there is no rope!   The question is why have some people allowed themselves to be conditioned into thinking the erotic as sinful in all contexts and sexuality as having implicit religious norms?   The arrows of condemnation easily hit their intended targets in this situation.  Hands are wrung in despair and guilt but why?  In this icon Saint Sebastian conveys all these emotions and confusions and yet thankfully he is not contained by the boundaries of religious judgement but rather steps outside its borders.  He has been hurt by the transgressions of others and by his own doubts but he steps forward in faith - not as a victim but as a strong resilient human being.