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Diversity, Collaboration, and Inclusion Virtual Art Gallery

FEBRUARY 12, 2021

Students from the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences recently participated in an art competition focused on building Zion at BYU through diversity and inclusion. These pieces, done in a variety of mediums, communicate the students' feelings on fostering a loving environment where all feel welcome.

During February, the library will host a physical gallery of the artwork in the Atrium Gallery. All are welcome to visit. We also compiled the art into a virtual gallery for everyone to enjoy.

(Photos by Alyssa Dahneke of BYU photo)

A painting that is described below

1st Place: Let Zion in Her Beauty Rise

Kathryn Ogden

“My piece depicts a gathering of priesthood holders for the naming and blessing of a newborn girl. Each priesthood holder is meant to represent a different community, society, or culture. For some of these figures I had a personal, real-life inspiration to guide me in my creation. My daughter was the original inspiration for this chalk design. She inspires me daily to recognize the good around me and try new things as she does the same. While my daughter is caucasian, I wanted to depict the little girl in this artwork as ethically ambiguous as I could. I want her to symbolize the future generations that have the opportunity to be a part of Zion by creating unity and spreading love to everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or anything else that differentiates people.”

A painting that is described below

2nd Place: Character, Attributes, and Faithfulness

Alina Vanderwood

“Elder D. Todd Christofferson said, ‘Zion is Zion because of the character, attributes, and faithfulness of her citizens.’ My piece is a black and white landscape of BYU campus, just outside of the Harold B. Lee Library, populated by colorful silhouettes of students that leave trails of color along their way. This is meant to portray that the character, attributes, and faithfulness of each person is unique and as they interact with and uplift each other, the colors blend together to make a new, more beautiful atmosphere that will lay a positive foundation for those who follow them.”

A collage of Black Lives Matter protesters holding signs

3rd Place: Your Fight is My Fight

Nicholas Rex

“I was inspired by the many diverse people at the Black Lives Matter protests. It seemed to me that all the people there understood why they were there. They wrote what they believed on their cardboard signs and marched. They knew in their heart why Black Lives Matter, and were fighting for them. I believed Black Lives Matter but did not know why, and did not understand my place in all of this. I did not know what my core message of support for the Black Lives Matter movement was, but as I looked around I found my message in everybody else’s message: Your fight is my fight.”

A painting of dozens of arms from people of a variety of a variety of racial backgrounds reaching up with outstretched hands that says, "Oh How We Need Each Other"

Dean’s Honorable Mention: Oh How We Need Each Other

Kayla Beck Nuss

“With the news of George Floyd and other POC victims coming into many people’s conversations from this past summer, I was inspired to create this piece. This painting is supposed to reflect the courage and strength of the people who have spoken out and shared their experiences with underlying racism that still exists in our world today. We need them. We need each other to support and uplift.”

 Six small embroidery hoops with hands embroidered on them

Honorable Mention: Zion Under Her Nails

Madison Siebers

“I was inspired by our community’s need for racial diversity to create Zion. When I was a freshman, a professor once talked about living our lives like we “had Zion under our fingernails.” It has been a motto for me as I’ve made life decisions—I want to be on my knees, elbow-deep in the work.”

A painting of four hands with flowers growing from the tips of the fingers on a black background

Honorable Mention: Garden

Leslie Neville

“I have always viewed flowers as a symbol of beauty and growth. In my artwork, I attempted to convey the beauty that can come from joining hands with individuals of all cultures, ethnicities, and backgrounds. Each hand has something unique to contribute that adds to the colorful garden of flowers.”

A photo of an older man holding many baskets on a beautiful cobblestone street.

Honorable Mention: A Day in the Life

Carrie Nelson

“This was taken in a tiny town outside of Mexico City. I remember seeing this man going about his day, most likely doing his work to provide for his family and thinking, ‘Wow, he does this everyday?’ I immediately was overcome with so much respect for him.”

A painting of a group of diverse people helping each other with work in a vineyard. The colors are bright and cheerful.

Honorable Mention: Grafting

Eden Smith

“This painting is inspired by the parable of the tame and wild olive trees in Jacob Chapter 5, in which the Lord of the vineyard saves his dying olive trees by crafting in wild branches. In our society today, “grafting” means sharing diverse opinions, ideas, and talents to strengthen those around us and foster inclusion, mutual understanding, and faith.

A painting featuring the profiles of three black women. It is somewhat impressionistic and reads, "Their trauma remains"

Honorable Mention: Their Trauma Remains

Lindsey Meza

“I wanted to depict the intergenerational trauma of black women. Enslaved black women went through intense physical, sexual, and emotional trauma. That trauma did not die when they did—it passed to their posterity. I wanted to paint something that depicted that chain. Even though it wasn’t the present woman’s personal trauma, it’s still hers—passed to her by their ancestors.”

An impressionistic painting of two hands grasping each other. One is gold in color and one is a rich blue. There are red roses featured to the right and to the left of the arms

Honorable Mention

Claire Felsted

“I want it to represent all kinds of people with no real distinction because in the end, whatever it is of the many things that make us different, we are all children of God and can be united in love if we choose to be. Red and white roses often symbolize unity, and the color blue is also expressive of unity, so I made sure to incorporate them into my piece. I also added intertwined ropes for the same symbolism. We are all part of this world and the community of humanity. May we treat each other with respect is my hope.”

Honorable Mention: My Brother

Sage Smith

A poem by Makoto Hunter. A transcription of the full text follows at the end of this article.

Honorable Mention:

Forecasting a Conversation and Seeing Only Storms Ahead, for the Past Has Given Little Reason to Expect Otherwise

Preston Makoto Hunter

A transcription of this poem follows at the end of this article.

A pencil drawing of Jesus Christ. His hair and clothes are made up of flags from around the world and there is a large painted golden circle behind His head.

Look to the Son

Hannah Stadler

As I thought about what Zion meant to me, I realized that Zion is really another word to describe Jesus Christ. The person who created us so individually clearly not only appreciates diversity but needs it in this world. So vice versa, diversity is necessary to build a Zion community. I wanted to show how different cultures and people all over the world are all united through Christ.

A painted puzzle. The center of the puzzle is a heart shape made up of hands, noses, lips, eyes, ears, etc. of a diverse group of people with a different body part featured on each piece. Outside the heart is dark grey and beneath the puzzle is a pair of hands painted blue and green in the shape of the earth's topography. The hands are holding one of the puzzle pieces.

Natalie Frenfell

Despite our differences, as we come together with others in our communities and throughout the world, we will discover a greater whole in store. Growing to accept people regardless of culture, origin, and background will enable us to purify our hearts and create a greater Zion community.

A painting of a young Black woman. There is a white halo with a red border around her head and a yellow floral background. She is holding a Bible that says "Do unto others" in red text.

Do Unto Others

Casey Geslison

“I wanted to create a modern icon showing the divine nature of Black women. Basing her pose on traditional Orthodox icons, I hoped to convey a sense of dignity and strength, as well as a spiritual power I’ve felt from BIPOC friends. I hope we can all become the disciples Christ needs us to be by actively pursuing anti-racist actions and narratives and doing unto others as we would have done to us!”

A painting of circles of various sizes whose colors correspond to various skin tones with blue in between them. They are arranged in a circle and there is a galaxy-like pattern around them

Earth Tones

Faith Williams

“I recently had the realization that every skin tone that exists across the planet earth can be found in the many colors of dirt, sand, and rock across this same planet, our home. It feels beautiful to me that something so natural as the color of our skin—no matter the color—is represented in the earth. After all, what could be more natural than the substance upon which we stand, walk, and exist?”

A black and white ink drawing featuring Jesus with a halo and a long white robe pointing to a person's heart. Their clothing is black but brighter near Jesus's hand.

A Change of Heart

Joseph Chu

“This piece is inspired by the concept of having a changed heart because of the influence of God. when we are truly touched by God and changed, we see others with more charity, and we have a desire to help them no matter the differences we may have with each other. Our perspective towards people becomes more Christlike. To me, the importance of diversity is that it offers us a chance to apply the concept of charity in a variety of different ways, because each person that we encounter is so unique.”

Two hands made of skin-toned bandages linked together by the thumb and forefinger on an off-white background

Broken Hands United

Emily Schwartz

“If we are to have the unity of a Zion community, we need to put in a concerted effort to address the pains of the past. It is critical to realize that we can’t keep using bandaids to conceal the centuries of hurt that have been inflicted by racism. In recognizing that truth, we can begin to work towards a brighter future as we stitch together our broken hearts and hands in unity.”

Four hands holding a hammer, a bucket, a saw, and a paintbrush on an off-white background

Unique Rules and Important Contributions

Kellie Haddon

"Forecasting a Conversation and Seeing Only Storms Ahead, for the Past Has Given Little Reason to Expect Otherwise"

By Makoto Hunter

I'm sitting down for class in a crowded lecture hall.
It's full of fellow BYU students,
All jostling, chatting, texting, waving, sitting, standing, rushing, waiting, praying, waking, doing.
All fellow students, and I think to myself, I'm home.
For a moment, I'm happy.

A young man my age sits down next to me. He looks like he's from the area.
He wears a BYU T-shirt. Half a foot taller than me. Lean, clean-shaved, short hair.
He looks like he's from the area.

I think to myself, I'm a college student now. I'm an adult. A fellow Cougar.
I think to myself, we could easily be friends. I've been meaning to be friendlier. To make friends.
We could easily be friends, he and me. We're both BYU students. We're both in this class.
We're probably both members of the Church. Maybe we even both served missions.
We could easily be friends, he and me.

He ends up being the first one to speak.
"Hi," he says. He has a deep voice, like bass.
I say hello back to him.
"Ready for class?" he asks.
I give an ambiguous answer. I tell him that I'm excited for the subject, but not necessarily for the lecture.
He chuckles. "I feel you there,"

He says.

I nod.

We sit for a moment in silence.

I think to myself, we could easily be friends, he and me.

He talks first. "So—what's going on with you?"

Awkward. But sincere. An opportunity.
I open my mouth to speak.

I think to myself about what might happen. What I might say.

And I'm imagining.
I'm imagining my answer to his question.

I imagine saying to him what a tough year or so it was, how glad I am it's over.
2020 and early 2021, wow, that was hard. That's what I imagine saying.

"Oh yeah, it was," is what I imagine him saying in response.
"I'm so glad I don't have to wear a stupid mask.
"Man, people our age these days. They'll give up their rights in a heartbeat, won't they?"

Imaginary me pauses for a moment.
I realize I can easily imagine this conversation because I've already seen it, already had it.
I imagine myself trying to push back a little.
I imagine myself pointing out that this was a dangerous pandemic.
Surely lots of people wore masks of their own free will. That's why I wore a mask.
Wearing a mask was sensible. Didn't an apostle make a video about that?

"You do you, man," is what I imagine him saying.
"But you're crazy if you don't think most people knew deep down
"That the whole panic was out of control."

I stop imagining. I don't want that conversation.
I only imagined it, right? Reality could be different.

And yet.

I imagined it so easily. Because I had already seen it,
From another Latter-day Saint friend, who I respected.
The possibility wasn't invented. It had happened.

I imagine myself saying something else. Something to allow a different response.

I imagine myself saying to him, how excited I am for Asian-American History month,
Because last year I wasn't able to go to events like I wanted to because of—
Because of reasons we don't need to get into.
But this year, it's Asian-American History month again! And I'm excited.
Special Collections has an exhibit. Have you heard about it?

"Why do Asian-Americans get their own history month?" is what I imagine him saying.
"We'll run out of months if we keep doing that for every kind of American.
"Wouldn't it be easier to just have 'American history month?'"

Imaginary me wonders what I should say.
Some imaginary venom wants to ask if he realizes he's talking to someone Japanese.
Some imaginary fear just wants to crawl and hide.

I stop imagining again.

I have not had that conversation specifically.
But I've had many similar ones. Similar accusations against diversity.
Questioning "why do something special for them anyway?"

Things could be different. But maybe I won't take that risk. I'll say something else.

I imagine myself saying to him how much I appreciated the new op-ed in the Deseret News,
Written by a member of the NAACP Board.
I thought it was so insightful, is what I say.
And I ask him if he's seen the op-ed?

"NAACP?" is what I imagine him saying.
"Aren't they obselete? They've already accomplished their civil rights goals."

Imaginary me freezes. I start to ask, if they were obsolete
(And I am trying to tread carefully)
Then, I am still asking, why did President Nelson partner with them?

"Well, I guess they need us," is what I imagine him saying.

And I stop imagining again.
I've had a conversation very close to that with a Latter-day Saint.
He claimed confusion about the NAACP's existence.
Said it was obsolete in this day and age.
That they already achieved their goals.

Am I being uncharitable, imagining all this?
And yet it's all happened to me before.
And I just want to be friendly. I don't want a fight.
I don't want to become a target for someone's subtle distrust.
Or someone's not so subtle acrimony.
I want to be safe. I want to avoid any of these imagined possibilities.

I imagine myself saying something else. Something to allow a different response.

I imagine myself—I imagine myself—

Talking about how scared the Capitol Riot made me feel?
"I mean, you can't blame them, can you? People are worried about election integrity."
But, there is no evidence of serious tampering, and any changes wouldn't change the results—
"I mean, the President's trying to reveal the truth."

(Various acquaintances. A friend even took an informal poll. Few trusted the decision. Some sympathized. Gave a benefit of the doubt they didn't give last summer.)

I imagine myself—I imagine myself—

Talking about how I finally finished reading How to Be an Antiracist?
"Wasn't that written by a communist?"
(This sentiment said by a visiting Latter-day Saint lecturer)
But, it was an assigned book from one of my professors at BYU—
"I have heard some of the professors are apostate."
(I heard only secondhand about Latter-day Saints saying this, but still it chilled me.)

I imagine myself—I imagine myself—

Worrying about police violence, about the way people seem to be treated differently, prejudicially?
"If they weren't doing anything wrong, would the police bother them?"
But, that's my point, people seem to not be doing something, or at least not dangerous enough to warrant—
"Hey, so there's a few bad apples. But it's not all cops! Blue lives matter!"
(Said by so many Latter-day Saints I cannot track anymore.)

I imagine myself—I imagine myself—

Talking about a study on gender discrimination, about how women struggle to receive the same pay for the same quality of work?
"Hey, I don't think we should demean women by making it easier for them.
"We need true gender equality, not feminist extremism."
(Said by so many Latter-day Saints I cannot track anymore.)

I imagine myself—I imagine myself—

Saying how moved I was when I heard President Oaks say "Black lives matter" in a devotional?
"All lives matter, so of course.
"I just wish these BLM people didn't tarnish the movement so much. They're extremists."
(Said by so many Latter-day Saints I cannot track anymore.)
"Did you know they left litter all over a hiking trail I went to?
"I couldn't trust the movement after that."
(Said to me by a BYU professor.)

I imagine myself—I imagine myself—

Talking about my research paper, about Confederate memorials and both historic and modern anti-black racism.
"You study history? Oh, that's good! Good luck against those crazy mobs.
"I can't believe how brazen people are. They're literally trying to erase history."
(Said by so many Latter-day Saints I cannot track anymore.)
Imaginary me does not bother to correct him.
Does not bother to say many of the memorials don't represent history, were built decades,
Sometimes a hundred years later, built with terror in mind. But imaginary me says nothing.
Imaginary me is tired.
Imaginary me knows I would never persuade him anyway.
I've had this conversation before, and seen such conversations before,
With and from Latter-day Saints.
All past experience suggests talking about it will end badly.

I imagine myself—I imagine myself—

Maybe I won't say anything I'm actually thinking about.
I'll just tell him my name.
That doesn't really answer his question.
But maybe it would be safer.

I imagine myself telling him my name.

"Oh, that's a really interesting name!" I imagine him telling me his name.
Imaginary me relaxes.
He tells me where he's from.
He is from the area.
"So where are you from?"
I tell him I grew up in Arizona. I tell him the name of the city, that it's right by Phoenix.
"Oh, but where are you really from?"

I stop imagining again.

(So many Latter-day Saints. Most students on this campus I've talked to asked that.)

(A visiting lecturer championed the question. Told students they should ask that.)

I could withhold my name, perhaps. Just say where I'm from.

But he can still see my face. He would still ask that question.

Am I being uncharitable, imagining all this?
And yet it's all happened to me before.
And I just want to be friendly. I don't want a fight.
I don't want to become a target for someone's subtle distrust.
Or someone's not so subtle acrimony.
I want to be safe. I want to avoid any of these imagined possibilities.

Finally, I answer his question.

I say nothing much. Nothing much is going on with me. Just the same old. School. Work.
He says something similarly noncommittal, something similarly meaningless.
We both lapse back into awkward silence.

A part of me longs for friendliness. That part of me wishes I'd tried.
But another part of me is relieved.
That other part of me was scared. Scared of the conversational minefield.
Scared of every memory I had affirming that I would not be safe talking to a fellow Latter-day Saint.
As much as I loved the Saints. As much as I trusted them. As good as they were.
I could not safely tell them the things I cared about.

I can welcome being challenged. I can welcome honest questions.
But I have become exhausted by and tired of dismissal. Of being treated like an anomaly.
Of being looked at like I don't belong. Of people assuming I must come from somewhere else.
Of people hearing me say these words that they label as "different"
And subsequently label as "wicked."
I don't know where they get that train of thought.
I kind of know where they get that train of thought.
But I cannot bear to dwell on that too much either.

In the end, I say nothing. Imaginary me is too worn out. As is real me.
There would not be enough strength left for real me to handle
A conversation like that anyway.
And class is going to start. There would be no time.
And I am left alone,
Still longing for the Zion community I do not yet see.

Visit the exhibit this month in the HBLL Atrium Gallery and visit our DCI page for more information on the college's Diversity, Collaboration, and Inclusion initiatives.

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