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Tuesday, 17 January 2017

The 3 Mothers

Our current exhibition The Divine Image continues until Friday 20 January, with an evening opening until 7.00pm on Thursday 19 January. Then the exhibition's themes of welcome and hospitality will continue as the 3 Mothers will visit St Stephen Walbrook from Monday 23 January – Friday 3 February. See the 3 Mothers here: Mon – Fri, 10.00am – 4.00pm (Weds 11.00am – 3.00pm).

In 2007 the Bishop of London commissioned Revd Regan O’Callaghan to paint a triptych on the theme of hospitality and the 3 Mothers was the result.

They were blessed by the Bishop and installed in the reception of Diocesan House, London where they resided for a few years. After this they have been on the move and have been installed in different places including the Jewish Museum London, St James’s Piccadilly, St Paul’s Cathedral Melbourne and Lambeth Palace.

They are 35 cm x 40 cm each, painted in egg tempera, gold leaf on gesso with a dark wooden frame. This triptych written by Revd Regan O’Callaghan 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 the artist 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 and divine light.’

The triptych is understood as a contemporary religious icon which functions to instruct the faithful, theologically, spiritually and liturgically. An icon is believed a portal into the heavenly realm where the eternal light of God permeates all things and where no shadow is cast. The 3 Mothers thus represent the divine spark within all of us.

Regan O'Callaghan will be leading an icon painting course starting January 2017. It will be held in the recently renovated Emmanuel Church West Hampstead. The class begins the 28th January 2017 and is for adults with any artistic ability or none! Cost is £250 with all materials included.


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