This little show of my Holy Families Icons came down today after being up since before Thanksgiving at Peace UCC, here in Duluth. I realized after installing the show that while many of these pieces had been displayed separately from each other in group shows, this is the first time all of the icons had ever been shown together. These “modern icons” are a play on traditional Byzantine Iconography, an exaggerated style I developed between 2007 and 2013 to reference the traditional Judeo-Christian themes of this form of iconography, while also critiquing the institutional limits of holiness – that is to say, the icons represent individuals/families that the church (and her members) and our greater society as a whole, do not always deem as worthy of the title of “holy”, and thus, worthy of protection, care, affirmation or grace. Several of these works were developed for United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities’ 2012 Holy Families show, in response to the anti-marriage amendment that was on the ballot at that time. Five years on from the creation of those pieces, many families are still needing to advocate for their own safety, to be able to live together in peace and to be recognized as essential parts of the communities in which they live. These icons state that what makes a family, and indeed what makes a family holy, is that thing which is the greatest gift, love.