The Holloway Icons

The word 'icon' (Greek meaning 'image') originally referred to a religious image used for worship and contemplation. In our time it has also come to be used when speaking of a person who has significance in a particular field.

'The Holloway Icons' use the format of a religious icon to produce secular images. The representational part of the picture is set on a gold ground. This abstracts the people portrayed from their personal histories and social backgrounds so that each is seen, in the terms of this exhibition, as an equally significant individual.

Like religious icons these images are intended as objects of contemplation, both individually and as a group. They differ fundamentally from religious or political icons in that they attempt to present realistic images of living people rather than mythological or idealised ones. A comparison could be made with the funerary portraits of 1st century Egypt from Fayum. They are not related to any religious or political system. They are, in fact, decidedly secular.

Seen as a series, while they remain individuals, the people shown may be viewed as part of a wider community. While hinting at this larger social stage, these uncompromisingly realistic representations of individuals may also indicate the underlying mystery of each person's existence.

Who are they?
The people portrayed all live or work in a small area around the artist's studio in Holloway, North London. The group is necessarily limited to those who agreed to take part in the project but does represent a wide cross section of the local community.

'The Holloway Icons' are all in the same format. The portraits are in oil paint set on backgrounds of metallic gold acrylic, on 51 x 41 cm canvases. The icons are intended to be exhibited together in one room, preferably in low light, possibly lit by candles.

The images will be accompanied by short printed biographies of the people portrayed, which place the sitters in their personal, historical and social context. The series shows a cross section of a particular community at a particular time with the varied stories of how each person came to be living or working there. The biographies will not be exhibited with the pictures, rather made available as part of a catalogue.

The icons will also be displayed on this website with dedicated pages both for the group as a whole and for the individual portraits, and accompanied by more detailed biographies

One direction of study could contrast these images with icons of previous ages and in different societies. Representation of gods and/or significant individuals in a similar format has been common in many religions and political groupings. Celebrities from film, pop culture and the media have also been represented in 'iconic' fashion.

Another possibility would be to look at the backgrounds of those represented and study the routes which led them to be part of 'The Holloway Icons'.

Becomming an Icon

It is possible to commission an icon of yourself or someone else. Fior more information write Garry Kennard using the details on the contact page.

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