What seems to have piqued the interest of the writer, Raf Sanchez, is the fact that this school has a clientele of largely Palestinian Christians; indeed, one of the patrons is the Melkite Bishop of Jerusalem. The Melkite Greek Catholic Church originates in the Middle East and can trace its roots right back to the Apostolic era. Middle Eastern Christians are in the news at the moment for all the wrong reasons – the great persecution they are experiencing, especially in Syria – but Ian’s work with Palestinian Christians is seen by Sanchez as sign of hope in difficult time.
At the request of the Mother Superior of a local convent, Ian painted the Mother of God – dubbed Our Lady Who Brings Down Walls – on the wall that separates Jerusalem from Bethlehem.
You can read the article, entitled British Painter Revives Christian Ancient Art Form in Occupied West Bank, here.
I met Ian first several years ago when we both took a class from the British icon painter, Aidan Hart.