On Friday, March 16, 2012, at the opening of the Ninth International Art Competition exhibit, artists from around the world gathered to accept awards for their LDS-themed artwork.
Merit Awards were presented for 20 artists whose pieces were deemed “outstanding,” while another 15 artists earned Purchase Awards, meaning that the Church History Museum, which sponsors the competition, acquired the piece for its collection.
Elder Marlin K. Jensen of the Seventy, Church Historian and Recorder, attended and made a brief statement before the awards were presented.
The art exhibit opened on March 16, 2012, and runs until October 14, 2012, at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.
This year’s competition, “Make Known His Wonderful Works” (D&C 65:4), drew 1,149 entries from around the world in a variety of media, including sculpture, quilts and other textiles, paper art, and paintings. The museum will display 198 of the pieces.
According to Rita R. Wright, Curator of Art and Artifacts at the museum, the entries are judged according to artistic merit and thematic compliance. The works reflect a variety of media and cultural traditions bearing testimony of the Lord’s wondrous works, she said, and often use symbols to represent and instruct.
For example, Ukraine native Valentyna Musiienko’s Kyiv Ukraine Temple, which won a Purchase Award, re-creates in colored paper some symbols found in the temple.
Brandon Daniel Hearty—a Merit Award winner from Alberta, Canada—uses an oil portrait of his great-grandmother (Matriarch) as a representation of family history and intergeneration connections.
Alexandra Gomez Chaves, of Bogotá, Colombia, said that the competition is a way to bear testimony. She created her Merit Award-winning piece, Living Waters, with the help of her mother, who passed away shortly before the exhibit opened.
“The people who see this artwork … will see the testimony that Jesus Christ and His gospel are a fountain of living water,” she said. “In this piece, they will see all the love that a mother can teach her children because this mother takes the pitcher and teaches her daughter to teach the gospel.”
Admission to the exhibit is free, and patrons are encouraged to bring their families. They may vote for their favorite work, and six Visitors’ Choice Awards will be given in September, based on patrons’ votes.
Soon, individuals will be able to watch interviews with 11 different artists involved in the competition on the Church History website in English. The videos will also show at the museum.
The Church History Museum is also planning an online exhibit at history.lds.org/artcompetition.
For more information about the exhibit, visit history.lds.org or call 801-240-4615.