8th International Art Competition

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?


  1. These are wonderful. The first one, especially, touched me deeply. I hope one day all in the Church (and the world) can feel for those whom He is watching in this image the way He feels as He watches them.

  2. Julie M. Smith says:

    I think Uncle Harry is my favorite.

    Thanks for linking to this–I had fun looking at them.

  3. Kevin Barney says:

    I love the international art competitions. Re: Richard Oman, his son Nate posted a very nice and well deserved tribute to him over at T&S recently.

  4. Makes correlated Mormon art all the more disappointing.

  5. Bro. Jones says:

    #4 Amen. Can we please add even just one or two items from these awesome international competitions to the “art canon” each year? Please?

  6. Researcher says:

    Thank you for the link. It was very interesting to scroll through the collection and see a few items that were to be expected, some interesting and unusual, and most very touching.

  7. The one that challenges me the most (in a good way) is “Angels Will Attend Thee”. At first glance, I was repelled by it. The girl, the angels, and the self-conscious somberness were too over-the-top for me. But on looking again, I realized that the girl is wearing the young women’s uniform. I don’t know enough about clothes and hair styles to know what makes the young women’s uniform, but if you passed her on the street, I think you could immediately guess that she was Mormon. And it was that realization of a more fundamental identity that challenges me to ask, who are our youth? and how are we, as an institution, shaping them? and what do their physical expressions, through dress and action, say about themselves and about us?

    As for my personal tastes, I very much like the style, simplicity, and slight surrealism of “Atonement”.

  8. Re: #4 & 5:

    Entries from the IAC are being featured more often in the Ensign.

    What would be awesome is if prints/photos of many of the entries could be made available through the LDS Catalog.

  9. I loved a lot of these. I really liked one also that depicted a woman in Mexico headed towards the cemetary with her traditional marigolds for All Saints Day, and a copy of the Book of Mormon. I thought the composition and colors were beautiful, and I liked the combination of Mormon-ness and traditional belief. I also wish we could get prints of these through some source. In the last competition there was a neat woodprint about marriage that I just loved and wish I could have a copy of.

  10. My favorite was Sanctification followed by Atonement and O Jerusalem. I would LOVE to see art like this in our buildings, but don’t anticipate new, fresh modern art in our traditional buildings. Including modern art in our buildings that represents our time and place would take our worship to a new level.

  11. So many beautiful things; so many talented people. My personal favorite is the door.

  12. Bro. Jones says:

    #8, #9 That’s what I meant by inclusion in the canon: it’s nice to see this stuff pop up in the Ensign, but it’d be nice if I could buy copies for my home. Arising from my particular pre-Mormon background I have a very strong dislike of posting pictures for “worship”–pictures of temples, the prophet, and Jesus just strike me as idolatry, though I don’t begrudge anyone else the choice to hang them in their homes–but having beautiful, symbolic, spiritual pictures works just fine for me.

  13. Wonderful works of art.All of them