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Visual testimonies

Church museum opens international art competition show

It's possible to view the new international art exhibit at the Museum of Church History and Art in a half-hour or so. But it's a bad idea.

Instead, remove your watch and click off your cell phone. Take a moment with each of the 100-plus pieces that make up the museum's Sixth International Art Competition show. Read the comments from each of the artists next to their respective painting, sculpture, wood carving or metal work. Then discover the gospel messages found in this remarkably diverse collection from LDS artists from all parts of the globe.

The rich mixture of artistic media included in the competition — entitled "Latter-day Saints Yesterday and Today: Beliefs, History, Life" — reflects the variety of LDS artists participating in the exhibit. Some 30 countries are represented and almost half of the artwork was created by women.

"We're very pleased with the [exhibit's] quality and diversity and the way the subject matters are expressive of what it means to be a latter-day Saint," said the exhibit's curator, Robert Davis. He was one of three jurors charged with organizing the final exhibit from more than 700 entries.

Artists of all ages and experience answered the museum's call for entries. The final exhibit includes work from professional artists along with "a lot of amateurs who gave everything they had," Brother Davis said.

The exhibit winds through the museum's second floor gallery, loosely joined by several gospel themes such as missionary work, motherhood, service and Joseph Smith. The subject of many of the exhibit's pieces are easily recognized episodes from the scriptures and Christ's mortal mission. Other works are allegorical — exploring themes such as justice, sin and redemption.

"There's something for everybody here," Brother Davis said.

Several of the pieces included in the exhibit will become part of the museum's permanent collection. Admission is free.

The Museum of Church History and Art is located at 45 N. West Temple, just west of Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah. The museum is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and most holidays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Call (801) 240-4615 for more information.


Textile art assumes a prominent role in the exhibit. Sue Gilgen's quilted fabric "Within the Shady Woodland" captures the natural serenity that framed the First Vision. The life of Joseph Smith is among the exhibit's many themes.


The spirit of the Nauvoo Temple is captured in Jeronimo Lozano's folksy sculpture "The Truth Revealed." The Peruvian-born artist reflects the diversity of the exhibit. Artists from 30 countries are included.


Chinese artist Chin-Tai Cheng enlists the art traditions of his native land in his Chinese ink on paper painting "Steadfast in Keeping the Commandments." The Chinese script at the top of the painting is a scripture from the Book of Mormon.


Jeremy Winborg, a young American artist, drew upon his full-time missionary experience in Albania to create this painting that depicts a young woman studying the scriptures in his oil "The Book of Mormon."


Jan Astle's oil "Why Seek the Living among the Dead?" is one of many pieces of art in the Sixth International Art Competition depicting an episode or characters from the scriptures.


Curator Robert Davis stands beside a sculpture selected for the international exhibit.


E-mail: jswensen@desnews.com