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A culturally diverse, faith-filled art exhibit in a broad array of mediums is on display for the next seven months at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City.

The 11th International Art Competition begins March 14th and is operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “We had over 900 submissions from over 26 countries – the range was astounding,” said competition juror Herman du Toit.

This year’s theme is “Meditations on Belief” and draws on a verse from Psalm 77: “I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.”

“It’s this wonderful, powerful force that I think draws us closer to God in terms of what it was like for Him to create the world … and create us and that ultimate expression of faith,” said Carrie Snow, manager of Collections and Care.

The artwork was selected by a team of five jurors (art competition judges) who represent the continents of Africa, the Americas, and Europe: scholar Herman du Toit, artist J. Kirk Richards, artist Jean Richardson, scholar Analisa Coats Sato and folklorist Elaine Thatcher. They had the difficult duty of paring down the selection to 151 pieces of art.

“We also seek to showcase the breadth and diversity of Latter-day Saint cultural production made manifest through the various styles, techniques, media and voices,” said curator Laura Allred Hurtado, “expand[ing] the art canon from the familiar images that currently adorn the halls of ward buildings to include new approaches to depicting gospel principles.”

The subjects of the artwork included in the exhibition are vast but not intended to be comprehensive. Although, several repeating ideas emerged: nature as a site of devotion for God and His creation; awe and humility communicated and captured in the universe and in the stars; Jesus Christ—His miracles and healing; the temple as a place of holiness and refuge; and devoted women seeking revelation, expressing gratitude or manifesting faith.

“Women who’re working out their faith actively are saying it’s not a perfect faith and I keep moving forward,” said Snow. “Somehow those stories are stronger because everybody can identify with having those moments.”

Selected artists come from all over the globe, including Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Ghana, Hong Kong, Japan, Malawi, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Uruguay, among others.

An awards ceremony for artists of distinction—those who were given purchase awards or awards of merit—will be held as part of the opening event on March 14. This ceremony will be held in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m., followed by a public reception with refreshments from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

The 11th International Art Competition: Meditations on Belief runs from March 9 to October 7, 2019. The museum is open to the public Monday–Friday, 9:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m., and Saturdays, 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Admission is free.

About the Church History Museum: The Church History Museum, near Salt Lake City’s Temple Square, houses important artifacts of the founding, pioneers and contemporary leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as well as a collection of works by many of its illustrious artists from 1830 to the present.