OGDEN (News4Utah) -What does a human rights organization do with 4100 copies of white supremacist books? The Montana Human Rights Network didn’t want to burn them so instead they transformed them into an artful response.
The result is an exhibit called “Speaking Volumes: Transforming Hate” currently on display at the Ogden Union Station Museum. Many of the pieces are created out of the racist and anti-Semitic books, including one featuring ammunition cans loaded with copies of “The White Man’s Bible”
That 1981 book by Ben Klassen and his 1987 follow up “Rahowa!” – or Racial Holy War – promote hatred and genocide against Jews and people of color. Museum Director Holly Andrew explained that artists around the country turned the books into art pieces.
“Each deals with a specific experience or a response to hate speech, bullying and acts of violence that are committed against all number of people,” Andrew explained. “So this exhibit is a really wonderful display of how to respond to negative acts.”
The pages of hatred and racism now folded and painted into colorful origami swans in a work by Philadelphia artist Sara Steele or sculpted by South Carolina artist Jean Grosser into memorials for family members who were Holocaust victims. Each evoking an emotional reaction.
Katie Knight is the exhibition’s curator.
“When we see a beautiful embroidery piece but the image is one of an African American woman hanging, that is to me, gut wrenching,” Knight told News4Utah. “As is the memorials that Jean Grosser made for family members killed in the Holocaust. I think it gives us a shared emotional experience which can be a catalyst.”
“Everybody has experienced some form of discrimination or some act of bullying or something like that as a result of fear or misunderstanding or just pure hate,” Andrew said. “So it’s refreshing in the sense that people can know they’re not alone.”
“I think it moves us to take action,” Knight said. “To witness and carry the story of those who have been oppressed as well as ourselves.”
“Speaking Volumes” runs through September 3rd. It’s open to the public and admission is free.
For more information, go to: http://theunionstation.org/art-galleries/
Gallery at the Station. The contemporary art gallery is located on the enclosed passenger platform of 1920’s train station. Windows look into the Grand Lobby of Union Station.