The purpose of the International Art Competition, now in its 10th iteration, is to showcase the breadth and diversity of Latter-day Saint cultural production and to make manifest the various styles, techniques, media, and voices of Mormon art. Such efforts expand the canon from the familiar images that adorn the halls of ward buildings to include new approaches to depicting beloved gospel subjects, thereby adding to our cultural legacy and visual heritage.
Drawing from 944 submissions from over 40 countries, this year’s final selections were chosen by a five-member jury. Artists submitted works responding to the theme “Tell Me the Stories of Jesus,” which aligns with the 2015 Sunday School curriculum. Many of the artworks explore stories of the Savior’s mortal ministry as recorded in the New Testament, while others include artists’ experiences in drawing near to the Savior.
Ultimately, it is the hope of the Church History Museum that visitors come to see Jesus the Christ in new and distinct ways, thereby enlivening their understanding of the Man of Galilee.
The art included in this exhibition explores various representations of the mortal life of Jesus—growing up as the boy of Nazareth, healing the sick, delivering the Beatitudes at the Sermon on the Mount, calling the Apostles, standing on the Mount of Transfiguration, and declaring Himself to be the Son of God. These depictions mirror His many names found in the scriptures—“Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Such titles attest to the many ways in which Jesus succors His people and offers an individual Atonement, universal in its application.
We submit these collective works, a small slice of contemporary Mormon cultural production, as testimony to be added to “the solemn testimonies of millions dead and of millions living [united] in proclaiming Him as divine, the Son of the Living God, the Redeemer and Savior of the human race, the Eternal Judge of the souls of men, the Chosen and Anointed of the Father—in short, the Christ.” (Elder James E. Talmage).
Throughout the stories of Jesus are found miraculous healings as well as acts of service and profound love toward the lonely, the downtrodden, the outsider, and the sinner. Such acts attest not only to the Savior’s desire to seek out the lost sheep in His fold but also to the way in which He sees us as greater than we see ourselves. Through the love He offers us and His atoning sacrifice, we can change and be buoyed up. What is asked of us, the sinner, is conversion like that of the prodigal son, who in destitute hopelessness said, “I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned” (Luke 15:18). In confessing, in becoming converted, and in turning toward the Savior, we are changed, we are forgiven, and we are made new. It is our hope that the artwork shown here inspires us through the stories of Jesus to come unto Him and take His yoke upon us. The Savior’s promise is that “ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:29–30).