Each portrait has a bespoke patterned background, particular to the faith of the sitter and the encounter Green witnessed. The utmost care has been taken to consider the theological significance of each motif, which incorporates the complex symbols, artefacts, architecture, and costumes she observed. This ranges from ancient manuscripts in The Vatican and Lambeth Palace libraries, to sacred objects like a yad torah pointer or a Zoroastrian tile, to architectural details from a Hindu Temple, a Mosque or a Cathedral. These elements are transformed into deceptively simple graphic patterns designed in Green’s studio. These are then embellished by hand with 24k gold, silver and copper leaf and diamond dust.
The subject of each portrait is then hand painted in muted tones, to obscure the face and hands. This references religious practises including the visual strategies seen in Islam and Judaism and the tradition of Orthodox icons, whilst also raising questions of identity and power. In concealing the face, the subject is removed from their individual office, identity and ego. They become a symbol of their religion as a whole. It creates a blank canvas on which we can project our own image, stimulating questions of our relationship to those who are different from us. The muted, neutral grey and brown tones used for the flesh obscures the race, culture, age and gender of the subjects, encouraging people to see the similarities and differences between the leaders.
Encounters empowers diverse audiences to see their faith, and themselves, depicted in a new context. As well as the Abrahamic Religions, Green depicts subjects who are often excluded from Western contemporary portraiture: Sikhs, Hindus, Zoroastrians, Baha’is, Jains, and Traditional African and East Asian religions. Green invites these groups into a shared space, provoking important reflection upon how one constructs one’s own identity only through others.