Provo’s Writ & Vision gallery is currently hosting an intriguing art show, “Mosaic of Christ.” it started on February 2nd and runs through February 24th, 2024. The exhibition aims to challenge traditional portrayals of Jesus and instead emphasize cultural expression and historical accuracy.
Traditionally, official and unofficial art within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has depicted Jesus as a fair-skinned, European figure, despite historical evidence suggesting otherwise. The show’s organizer, Esther Hi’ilani Candari, believes that it’s essential to diversify depictions of Jesus to reflect the global nature of the faith.
The “Mosaic of Christ” exhibition showcases works by a range of Latter-day Saint artists from various cultural backgrounds, including emerging talents and well-known figures like Walter Rane, Tyrone Whitehorse, and Melissa Tshikamba. These artists infuse elements from their own cultures into their depictions of Jesus, breaking the mold of traditional representations.
The show is organized by Meetinghouse Mosaic, a group of diverse Latter-day Saint women.
Artists like Rose Datoc Dall, who previously painted Jesus as fair-skinned, have shifted their focus after events like George Floyd’s killing in 2020. Dall now portrays a darker-skinned Jesus, receiving positive feedback from fellow Latter-day Saints who welcome the change.
While challenging traditional depictions of Jesus has faced resistance from some quarters, proponents like Candari stress that their motivation is rooted in love for Christ. They hope this exhibition will foster a broader and more diverse understanding of Jesus within the faith community.