Love Does Not Harm
“Love Does Not Harm” is a conceptual piece created by Timothy Gabriel. It spans eight by four feet and is composed primarily of oil paint and colored glass. Timothy drew inspiration from conceptual artist Barbara Kruger, contemporary artist Kara Walker, and graphic designers Stefan Sagmeister and Saul Bass. The piece depicts an androgynous silhouette, symbolizing the LGBT community, smeared with spiteful words on a cross of hateful quotes. Behind the crucifixion stands a rainbow banner declaring that “Love Does Not Harm”.
The primary purpose of this piece is to raise awareness of the impact homophobic rhetoric has on the LGBT communities in Uganda, Russia, and around the globe. In many parts of the world, these minorities are oppressed, maimed, stoned, tortured, imprisoned for life, and executed. “Love Does Not Harm” seeks to draw attention to the specific role many American Evangelicals play in this very real persecution. A majority of the depicted quotes are taken directly from American Evangelicals and some of their various political and lobbying institutions. The brands of these Evangelical institutions are on the plaque above the cross. All of the quotes are on this website for reference with expanded context.
The title “Love Does Not Harm” seeks to establish a common agreement on the nature of love across all ideologies, nationalities, and cultures. Additionally, the title references Romans 13:10, acting as an ethical standard to hold accountable the hate speech of several Evangelical proponents. Love Does Not Harm is located at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in downtown Grand Rapids during ArtPrize.
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Timothy Gabriel is a graphic designer and artist from the greater Grand Rapids area. As a proponent of philosophy, art, design, secularism, and human rights, Timothy has a wide range of interests, passions, and hobbies.
In 2011, he ventured on an academic trip to Europe to study art (spanning early renaissance to modernism) — it was this exploration that sparked his passion for the arts. After graduating from Ferris State University in 2013 with a bachelors in graphic design and a minor in art history, Timothy ventured to Grand Rapids to pursue design and art. Joining up with ArtPrize in 2014, Timothy crafted Love Does Not Harm as his first competitive piece.