I have no real credibility in the visual arts; I lack training and perhaps taste. I do know what I like though. And much of the art at this year’s Church-sponsored competition, I like a lot. The diversity of media and culture of origination was thrilling. Sure there is a quotient of kitsch, but as I gazed upon each image, more than once I wanted to contact Richard Oman and thank him for a life’s work well spent. I encourage you to look through each of them as well at the online exhibit.
Also, be sure to read the captions; I found them frequently touching. There is a simple piece of lace by Melva Emrazian, that may not seem “Mormon”; but she describes how her grandmother survived the Armenian genocide and learned to make lace in an orphanage and later joined the Church. Furthermore, some of the examples have been digitized three dimensionally, like Annette Everette’s bronze sculpture of Mary and Martha. You can rotate the piece to see the different facets of the subject which the artist claims are in each of us.
What follows are not necessarily my favorites, but they should whet your appetite. I would be grateful to have them in my chapel or temple. Be sure to see the large images at the online exhibition.
A Caring Savior by Steven Barker, Colorado.
Charity Dance by Helen Izevbigie, Nigeria is a cast bronze depiction of the Relief society.
Yvonne Bent, Utah, offers an etched glass window, Line Upon Line, Precept upon Precept. We need more numerological imagery coupled with Hebrew in Mormon art. Who doesn’t?
As Sisters in Zion by Valentina Olekseeyeevna Museeyenko, Ukraine. The Artist uses pen on paper to replicate the traditional embroidery of her culture.
Preparing for the Sabath by Mthulisi Ncube, Zimababwe.
The Sticks: Judah and Joseph by Richard Olagunju, Nigeria. This is another three dimensional rendering.
Still Life with the St. Bartholomew Masterpiece by Ronald Roberts Richmond, Colorado. Oil on metal leaf on linen: “Christ, the Living Water, is symbolically represented in front of a copy of a Renaissance painting depicting the mortal body of Christ being lowered from the cross…”
Eternity by Dennis Wickliffe, New Zealand.
What have you found?