Neville Barbour: Blessings in Gray

A review by Elsabé Dixon

Neville Barbour states:

Blessings in Gray “is a visual exploration of the narratives that define us. It explores what it is to be human and remarks on the ambivalence of that perspective. Neville explores how conflict can take us out of our comfort zone, yet become a force for change.”


Every Image tells a story, but the good stories sometime need more time and attention to unfold fully. On a winter Friday afternoon in February of 2023, I spoke to Neville Barbour about the nine realistic figure drawings in his solo show at the Hillyer Gallery in Washington, DC. Each drawing seemed to hold complex symbols one could recognize, but the arrangements seemed to have a structure that made what you were looking at almost “abstract”.

A figure with angel wings, standing against the backdrop of a large detailed moon is simply called Monday, and Barbour explains that he has just become a father, and that having a child makes Monday more palatable. I did a double take… how does that statement connect to a mystical angel winged figure standing as if on a stage in front of a large projection of the moon with its pitted and cratered surface? The detail was exquisite, but what is the meaning exactly? A mixture of satellite imagery, with what looks like a historic priestess figure from an old opera photograph and the Art Nuevo wings from a stained glass window were the only references I had in front of me. Like a random but complex dream sequence/Dada image, perhaps what Barbour is saying is that one should not look at his images as you look at a Dutch still-life with defined and absolute symbols, but instead take an emotional stance. How does the title, Monday, and this winged figure against the backdrop of the moon resonate with YOU, the viewer? 

I was curious – where would this conversation to clarify meaning lead? The second image we both looked at was Trap Wednesday.  A masked African American male figure sits on a white throne with a black crow on his shoulder and horns, sticking out from under a long white beard. His fingers and neck is adorned with gold and the word “love” is formed on the right hand, and the word “hate” is formed by the rings on the left hand. A spear with an engraved face, leans up against the left leg of the throne. Next to the figure sits a large, hairy dog.  Again, Barbour was very forthcoming about being an African American male artist in DC, and that in being so there is always the question around the philosophical statement of “doing the right thing.”  He said he based this seated character loosely on Spike Lee. Behind the seated figure is what looks like an Aztec or Mesopotamian Symbol in gold.

St George the Dragon depicts an equestrian figure riding not a horse, but an African steer. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, George’s slaying of the dragon may be a Christian version of the legend of Perseus, who was said to have rescued Andromeda from a sea monster. It is a theme much represented in art, the saint frequently being depicted as a youth wearing knight’s armor with a scarlet cross. While Barbour depicts the rider’s lower half as a replica of the medieval armor of St. George, the top half reveals a bear chested rider with patterned dots often associated with tribal coming-of-age rites. This mixture of West African mythology and an equestrian war figure, or Saint-to-stave-off-evil, can become a nuisance during times of peace, stated Barbour.  And I was reminded again not to tag the symbols as real meaning, but to glide on them as clouds float across a horizon.

You Remind Me depicts a beautiful, professionally dressed, African American seated female figure, with a fox fur around her neck. She is placed in front of a traditional enlarged checkered pattern. This, Barbour claims, is a dialogue between generations. Old photographs, Barbour says, often make one recall those who live in the present.  Perhaps the most compelling drawing in this series is a drawing of six children. Five small black boys stand in the background, while a young girl with a patterned dress curls up with two muzzled hyenas looking straight at the viewer.  The title, Lord of the “Flys” conjures up the title of William Golding’s novel. Barbour discloses that he grew up surrounded by strong female figures. “Hyenas are a matriarchal symbol and moves away from the concept of the patriarchal lion. This animal changes the viewpoint. Expands one’s perspective,” he says. 

Fisherman of Souls, depicts an old man in a triangle looking straight at the viewer, with a landscape in the background and two abstract white circles floating in the foreground toward the left and the right of the old man. Two heads (represented by the circles) – New Baby (Personal experience) – Old Man (Perhaps, a way of looking back at the Old Year and looking toward the New Year, 2023). Idia, shows a young girl with eyes diverted. Barbour says he has become fascinated by the role Africa played in participating in the slave trade. “We live in a society where not everyone can win, where there is no good choice,” says Barbour.  Salt, is named for the thing that allows us to “taste”. Far from the “Morton’s Salt Girl” in a raincoat under an umbrella, this drawing depicts a sultry and confident young lady in cascading silks, shading herself from the African sun. The next drawing, Janus, depicts the Roman God as an African American man in medieval armor. Janus is the god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages, frames, and endings. 

Every drawing in this exhibition holds known symbols, but they become plastic and ephemeral. They are not static, but instead become less concrete and more malleable. In many ways, these drawings turn on its head the way we look at figurative work. It takes the images that we see, and the meaning we tie to it, and push it into the background. These figurative images – that reiterate symbols, pushing at the outer limitations of symbols and all the multiple meanings they can hold –  translate into widening perspectives and larger cultural doorways. 

Neville Barbour
March 4-April 2, 2023
IA&A at Hillyer

To learn more about the artist visit

Q and A with Yasmine Dabbous

Questions by Tim Brown, Hillyer Director

Timothy Brown (TB):

You have stated that you live for passion and practicality. How do they inform your artistic practice?

Yasmine Dabbous (YD):

In art, like in life, I think it is important to care, to feel passionate about people and causes, and to express this passion vocally. But it is also important to be down-to-earth and practical, and to know where, when and how it is appropriate to do so. What works well in one context may fail in another. I am passionate but I also try to be mindful at the same time. 


Based on your educational experience, you have an avid interest in multidisciplinary approaches to solving problems and creating art. Which disciplines would you say have the most influence on your work?


I am certainly influenced by my career as a journalist, since everything I do includes a storytelling component. Stories are very important for me as an artist. They are the connection between my subject, myself and my audience. I am also influenced by my work in academia, and more specifically cultural history and cultural studies. That possibly explains why my artwork is largely conceptual and is meant to make me and others think and deconstruct realities -never take anything for granted. I always like to create a relationship between me and between the recipients of my work -some kind of intellectual space where we ponder together about our values and our experiences. 


Your current exhibition examines the topic of refugees. Why do you feel this is an important subject to address as a contemporary artist?


I come from a region ridden with conflicts and war. I was even born into the Lebanese Civil War. I wondered then, as a child, why would adults engage in such violence. I have not been able to answer this question to this day. And I feel that the issue of refugees, who are among the chief victims of these wars, is a direct way to address this question, to encourage people to challenge war and violence. 


You use the term “object connections“ to describe your work. How important is this to the refugee experience?


These object connections are primordial for refugees. We are talking of course about daily objects that often hang around our houses and do not mean much. But when we leave and take nothing else, these objects become our only connection to our past, our ancestors, our home. Moreover, refugees are going to a land that’s not theirs, and to a life they know nothing about. So these objects become the base for a new home. 


As an artist whose interests cross multiple disciplines, what are some future directions you plan to explore in your work?


I have a number of questions that remain unanswered in my mind and i would like to address them through more fiber art shows. I want to provoke thoughts but also find answers and feel at peace -both through conceptualization and application.

You can learn more about Yasmine Dabbous by visiting our Video Spotlights page and/or our YouTube Channel.

Connect with Yasmine Dabbous

Q&A with Artist John Paradiso

Questions by Tim Brown, Hillyer Director 

Tim Brown (TB):

In the special exhibition Pulse 2023, you feature several works that appear to be consistent with topics you have explored in the past that address identity and male sexuality. The superimposed patterns over some of the works however suggest a more complex and nuanced interpretation. What more can you tell us about them?

John Paradiso (JP):

When talking about sexuality in my work, I use methods and/or materials that are both traditionally thought of as feminine  and masculine. The work in this show focuses on leather culture and I am attracted to the hyper masculine qualities of Gay Leather men. In Leather Boy, I hand stitch the figure on repurposed leather, my friend Ryan’s old leather pants.  The collages have crocheted and vintage paper doilies over images of men in leather gear. I feel these ad a feminine touch, and I just like the layering of delicate floral paper or crocheted doilies over a hyper masculine man. My hope is that the masculine qualities of the pieces become more fluid.


When did you join Hillyer’s advisory committee and what has been your primary role since that time? Specifically, has your role been to select artists for Hillyer’s annual exhibitions or have you done other things, such as organize and or curate exhibitions?


I can’t remember when I was asked to join the Advisory group, but I would say I’ve been on it for about 10 years. My primary role has been to help sort through the submissions and find the artists that will have exhibitions the following year. I have also been assigned artists to help mentor in ways they may need. I have helped several of the artists that I have worked with install their shows as well as studio visits.


What would you say is your most memorable experience as an artist advisory committee member?


I will answer a different question. What I most like about participating on the advisory committee is getting a stack of 125 to 200 submissions each year and seeing all the art that’s being created. I usually know some of the submitting artists and I love being introduced to new art. I always find it interesting reading how artists represent and promote their own work. 


Since Hillyer was founded in 2006, the gallery has provided exhibition opportunities for new and emerging artists. Why do you feel this is important for aspiring artists? Can you recall when you had your first solo exhibition? How did this opportunity impact your career?


I think its important to get one’s art out into the world. Hillyer is a good resource and a great space.

My first solo show was in 1984 in a small neighborhood gay bar in my hometown. I pursued the opportunity, hung the show, and promoted it. As I have never had gallery representation, I continue to seek out opportunities to show my work. I spend 25% of my studio time doing promotional and administrative work. 


What advice would you give to aspiring contemporary artists living and working in society today? 


Define for yourself what success looks like. Work hard in your studio. Go look at art. Help other artists when you can. Show up for your art when you get into an exhibition. Help promote it, invite your friends, and visit the gallery often during the run of the show.


If visitors to the gallery would like to learn more about your work, how should they go about doing that?


They can visit my website at or my studio by appointment. My studio is located at Portico Gallery and Studios in Brentwood MD just over the DC line on Rhode Island Ave.

Q&A with Artist and Curator Renée Stout

Questions by Tim Brown, Hillyer Director 

credit: Renée Stout, photo by Grace Roselli

Tim Brown (TB):

In the special exhibition Pulse 2023, you feature four works that are part of the Hoodoo Assassin series. Can you tell us more about these works? How are they similar and/or different from other works you have produced?

Renée Stout (RS):

I started this series to channel my anger (I’m allowed to OWN it, because it’s justified) and frustration about this administration’s direct “war on women”. Women are slightly more than half of the population in this country, yet our hard-won rights are rapidly being chipped away at by a segment of the male population that feels threatened by the advances we‘ve made. This series is a continuation of my “In the Parallel Universe” bodies of works, through which I imagine and depict what real defiance, resistance and the subversion of the creeping fascism that’s taking hold in this country could/should look like. I imagine a world where women refuse to internalize male power structures or accept victimhood and the policing of their bodies, and instead become the soldiers in the fight for their own autonomy. We need to stop “asking” for our rights.

This is just the beginning of the series and I have added a few male “allies” and other diverse beings, but there will be future drawings, paintings, and photographs in which women will be pictured with their choice of weapon. In this culture where guns and the fight for freedom is seen as the domain of men, I want these works to evoke the idea that a time may be approaching when woman will have to become more aggressive about asserting their rights over their own personhood, by any means necessary. Marching is no longer an effective strategy. It’s a serious issue, but I still want to approach it with some humor, even though I’m not playing!


According to our records, you are one of the original advisory committee members formed in 2006 when Hillyer was founded. What was your role as a committee member? What was the contemporary art scene like during that time?


Yes, I was one of the original committee members and it was my role, along with the other members of the committee, to help create a schedule of exhibitions each year. Hillyer would put out a call for submissions and it was our job to convene, so we could review every proposal submitted and come to a consensus on which would be chosen for the lineup of exhibitions in the coming year. I absolutely loved the process because it gave me a chance to see what artists all over the DMV were doing in a way that I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise. It was exciting for me because not only could I see a lot of art, but it was also nice to discuss the art with a room full of other artists from the community.

In 2006, the DC contemporary art scene wasn’t much different than it is now. The city currently has a smattering of galleries here and there, but no real scene in terms of the way I imagine a strong “art scene” should be for a city as important as Washington, DC.

Now, if you had asked me about the scene when I first arrived here in DC, my answer would be very different. 1985 up until about the mid 1990’s was more of a scene, especially towards the early end of that period. For example, there were galleries and a handful of artist’s studios peppered throughout the downtown/7th Street area. The original WPA was an art scene anchor and the Dupont Circle area, especially parts of Connecticut Avenue and the crossroads of 21st and Q streets, NW were the places to go to get your fill of art viewing. Galleries would coordinate something like a “First Fridays” and have people moving up and down the streets in droves, in and out of gallery openings, and it was great.

The number of galleries has since dwindled over the years and the city’s art scene no longer has that same vibrant energy and I miss it terribly. I recount that time only because I feel it’s important for those who didn’t have the chance to experience those times to understand what has been lost and to contrast the difference between then and what we have now.

I chalk DC’s lack of a solid, stable art scene up to the fact that the city’s infrastructure refuses to support its artists, galleries, art spaces and affordable artist’s studios. Frankly, the only real commitment is to commercial developers, and really, who needs more overpriced condos and yet another restaurant? The city is just giving lip service and is putting no real commitment or resources towards creating and supporting a vibrant art scene and that’s unfortunate because you’d think that one of the world’s most important cities would want to showcase an art scene that reflects its position on the world stage.


You have curated shows for Hillyer in the past, most notably, Six in the Mix, which included Cianne Fragione, Kenyatta Hinkle, Adam Dwight, Marc Face Roman, James Swainbank, and Gilbert Trent. You will also be a guest curator for an upcoming exhibition in October 2023. Can you share your thoughts about these exhibitions and how they reflect your curatorial practice?


I’m new to curating and kind of just happened into it when I was invited to curate a show for Hillyer that ended up being Six in the Mix. Ever since that first experience I have been interested in curating more exhibitions. However, the issue is that I’m a full-time artist and curating is a complex and time-consuming endeavor that requires you to be disciplined, methodical, aware and thoughtful.

For Six in the Mix, I wanted to present an exhibition of works that were created by a small group of artists that was diverse in terms of style, gender, age, race, and sexual orientation. I was thinking along these lines because I wanted to reflect some of the diversity within the DMV’s artist population. I wish I could have made it even more diverse, but I wanted to keep it to a small group so that each of the artists could present a decent sized body of their works.

It still feels weird to think of myself as a curator, but in the role of curator I hope to present exhibitions that showcase artists, themes, or ways of thinking about art that I don’t see other curators considering or presenting right now. For example, one fantasy is to curate something conceptual, challenging, and thought-provoking like a show titled “30 White Americans” (A kind of spoof on “30 (Black) Americans)” in which I (or a small team of curators) turn the tables and choose the 30 white artists whose work I/we feel represents the styles, themes, ideas, and issues that are most relevant right now.

The art world thinks nothing of curators, black, white, or otherwise deciding who are the most “relevant” black artists deemed worth looking at. We’re used to seeing that, but what if the “usual suspects” that are used to being chosen as the best and at the top of the art world (usually white and male) aren’t who I would choose? It all depends on who’s doing the deciding when it comes to what’s “relevant.” I try to imagine how I would go about making my selections and what that exhibition would look like hanging at the National Gallery, the Whitney or MOMA. But the thing that entertains me the most when I think about it, is trying to imagine what the discussion would be. I’m sure a lot of people would have their panties in a bunch over my choices and because the irony of an exhibition like that would most likely be lost on them, LOL.


As an accomplished and well-established contemporary artist and curator in Washington DC, why do you feel it is important to provide exhibition opportunities for new and emerging artists? When did you have your first solo show?


I no longer believe in the labels “emerging” and “established” when it comes to artists because the structure/order of the art world has changed over time to the point where those labels have become meaningless and no longer applicable.

I feel it’s important to provide exhibition opportunities for DMV artists in general not just “emerging” artists, because the problem, (which I’ve already touched on above) is that there aren’t enough venues and opportunities to exhibit for the many talented artists in this area. Some good artists decide to leave for that reason.

Therefore, I feel that it’s important for the city to make sure that Hillyer Artspace and small galleries like Transformer and Honfleur provide exhibition spaces so local artists can thrive. We need even more spaces like these spread throughout the city.

My first solo show was at the Barbara Kornblatt Gallery in 1990. The gallery was located at 406 7th Street, NW (downtown). The David Adamson Gallery, where I started showing after Barbara closed her gallery, was in that same building.


What advice would you give to aspiring contemporary artists living and working in society today?


Hmm…that’s hard because the experiences I’ve had on my journey, which of course is ongoing, are very different than the way it might play out for a young artist today. The art world is so turned upside down and backwards at this time that the advice I was given may not even work the same way now. It was instilled in students back then that we should work hard to hone our skills and our craft and develop our individual voices. We understood that if we did that (which was basically called “paying our dues”), we just might earn recognition and a place in the artworld, usually by the time you were a mid-career artist. And that’s exactly how it played out for me. Although I still strongly believe in that advice on principle, the reality of the art world has changed.

What do you tell a young artist when the art world has become something of a lottery or the art version of American Idol? You might get the golden ticket straight out of grad school if your work fits a trend that’s being promoted by a celebrity curator and one of a handful of corporate commercial galleries snaps you up and gets you instantly “established” because you’re a pretty, young thing, have an interesting back story and you’re dating the right person. But don’t count on it.

On the other hand, you could be a super talented and mature artist who’s been plugging away at a day job for years while still working away on your art in the shadows on nights weekends and vacations. The next thing you know you’re 40 or 50 and your work may be finally getting some notice. I would consider you an emerging artist. What I’m saying is, at this time in the art world, what does youth have to do with being an “emerging” artist and what does age and maturity have to do with being established or commercially successful?

With all of that said, I still believe the focus of any artist at any age should be on the integrity of the work and not the art world spectacle. I would say that they should stay up on art history…know what has already been done so that they don’t fool themselves into thinking they invented the wheel. Stay up on the contemporary art scene as well for the same reason. Avoid mimicking art world trends because they think it’s going to get them some notice…for the most part, the current art world business model seems to be primarily functioning like a retail clothing business model with popular styles that quickly come in, then go out of fashion the next season. Keep following trends and their work will be as equally “disposable” as last seasons high-wasted jeans.

When people ask you who your influences are, don’t lie or act like you don’t have any. We all did early on, and anybody who’s up on art history and contemporary art is going to be able to recognize your influences anyway.

Lastly, work on finding your own voice and visual vocabulary while periodically reassessing your motives and practice by asking yourself: What do I believe? What am I aiming to say with what I’m creating and what am I hoping to contribute to the conversation that’s meaningful?

This blog post was published in conjunction with the special exhibition titled Pulse 2023, which celebrates the contributions of Hillyer‘s advisory committee members since the gallery was founded in 2006.

Newly Selected Artists, July 2022

Gabrielle Lajoie-Bergeron

Mascha-Le Gros Party


Mascha – Le gros Party questions the notion of celebration in the intimate, public, and political space. Highlighting evocative traces of a past event, this vivid new corpus allows us to imagine a universe in itself. Inspired by the figure of the “mascha” — the etymological root of the word “mask,” also meaning witch in Low Latin — the exhibition marshals a vast diversity of works, including a number of faux-visages (false faces) made of various materials. “Le gros party” is a French expression meaning, in common parlance, “the big party.” Inspired by festivities and their rituals, the project questions notions of overflow and excess, and the flashpoint at which fiction and reality overlap. It is about identity, power, and relationships. If the party makes it possible to become someone else — to live a rite of passage — what happens when the event overflows beyond the dancing, the singing, the feast, and the simple drinking? The big party invoked by Lajoie-Bergeron refers to the capricious masquerade that we offer in our time, when the celebration begins to lose its glamor and to lurch into incipient violence and other abuses.

Gabrielle Lajoie-Bergeron (she/her) is a French-Canadian multidisciplinary artist, curator, teacher, and cultural worker living and working in Baltimore (USA). Lajoie-Bergeron holds a master’s degree in visual and media arts from UQÀM (2014) and has been honored with many international awards and grants (MSCA/ Grit Fund / Plein Sud / Canadian Council for the Arts / Quebec Arts and Letters Council / Argentina Art Council). Her work has been exhibited in Canada, USA, Europe, South America, and Africa, and has been published in multiple magazines and newspapers. Over the past ten years, Lajoie-Bergeron has offered numerous cultural mediation workshops.

My practice questions the mechanisms used in the construction, reproduction, circulation, and normalization of history and images. A broad segment of my work deals with the history of painting and the way in which everything is thrown together. There is a need to reflect on collective and individual narratives through intergenerational and multicultural dialogue. Taking a feminist approach, my explorations bear on the concepts of territory — wild, intimate, public — and belonging, to oneself and others. How should we think about the territorial conquest and appropriation today? How do we delve into them, extract ourselves from them and smash them? Through a series of paintings, drawings, small sculptures, embroideries, objects – found or given – and snippets of written texts, my practice calls into question our interpretations and segmentation of the world, of the body, of history – both in its smaller and larger stories.

Kate Fitzpatrick

There is no anagram for the word anagram 

An anagram is a word formed by rearranging the letters of a different word, using all the letters. Any word that exactly uses those letters in another order is called an anagram. Whether as a literary game, cipher, mysterious verse, or poetry, anagrams provide a channel for making new meaning out of fixed ideas. Anagrams are anchored to their assigned positions and are limited due to their language rules, which are based on a collectively agreed-upon system.

There is no anagram for the word anagram playfully explores the idea of language and meaning by using an imaginary sign system to take the form of text, images, and objects, to break down the construction of our own arbitrary reality. The graphic potential of a sign invites the viewer to consider the possibilities that exist in arrangements that fill in the gap between image and text to explore meaning. In this exhibition, paintings, games, video, and objects offer a dynamic by which to wonder and to create personal meaning through indecipherable signs, which become a vessel for schema and a pathway to search and interpret.

Kate Fitzpatrick is an artist and educator based in Alexandria, VA. Fitzpatrick received a BFA in painting from Clarion University of Pennsylvania (1997), an MA in art education from University of New Mexico, and an MFA in drawing and painting from George Mason University (2020). She was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship (2016), through which she spent a semester in India working on an art curriculum with local arts teachers. Fitzpatrick is also an art educator who was honored by the Northern Virginia Magazine as a “Northern Virginian of the Year” (2014) for her creation and implementation of an art and yoga program for youths in the Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center. In addition, Fitzpatrick received the Washington Post’s Agnes Meyer Teacher of the Year Award (2013). Fitzpatrick exhibits her work throughout the US and teaches for Arlington Public County Schools.

Sign systems play a crucial part in the social construction of our reality and we often cannot separate these systems from our own experiences. We take understanding these signs for granted and don’t often think about how we came to recognize these signs or if others see them as we do. However, sign systems can take the form of words, images, sounds, body gestures, and objects. All signs communicate something that we may or may not understand based on our own culture and experiences in the world at large. I explore the gap that exists between image and text. The basis of my work centers around my own sign system to create interpretive spaces filled with unknown letter forms. Repetitive glyphs appear as mantras or broken language, glyphs gather and float away, thread is stitched or rolled into a ball, and paint is scraped away to reveal new worlds.

Kristin Adair


Unconditional is a multimedia exploration of the legacy of love that we carry within us as human beings. We are the accumulation of the relationships that came before us, that brought us into the world. Through the pandemic, I have investigated my love map through the lens of a box of letters my grandfather wrote to my grandmother while he was stationed in the South Pacific for three years during World War II. I weave a tapestry of images in both paper and video form, including archival images that my grandfather made during his deployment and other found materials, with visual explorations of my own body, examining the experience during the two years of the pandemic of isolation and my own search for connection and true love. The series Unconditional uses both physical and digital manipulation to combine old and new photographs with archival and new audio, weaving stories of the past — those that live inside of me, the present, and the future of my own latent lineage.

Kristin Adair is a Washington, DC-based documentary filmmaker and multimedia artist with a background in law and nonprofit advocacy, as well as a lifelong commitment to the work of justice, healing, and creative transformation. She is the founder of Unchained Stories, a social impact production company that uses collaborative film, video, and multimedia art to help create a more just world. Her creative and impact work bridges documentary film, photography, and multimedia. Kristin believes visual stories are the most powerful means to encourage dialogue, promote connection and compassion, and inspire social change. In her personal practice, she explores photographs and moving images as a unique language to build poetic narratives that are intimate, emotional, and transformative.

As a filmmaker, multimedia artist, educator, and advocate, I believe visual stories are the most powerful tools we have to encourage dialogue, promote connection and compassion, and inspire social change. I am committed to collaborative art- and media-making that creates pathways to inner and outer transformation through self-reflection, personal and community healing, and restorative justice. We are living at a transformational moment. The way we will dismantle systems of oppression is through art and stories that reimagine a different world. I continue to deepen my work and collaborations towards this vision for a radical way of healing and safety within ourselves and in our communities, justice built on love rather than retribution.