How can Mormon women ever envision themselves as divine beings, as gods equal in every way to male counterparts, if Heavenly Mother almost never gets depicted or even mentioned in Mormon discourse? We desperately need images that bring Heavenly Mother into the forefront of the Mormon consciousness, that communicate permission to think about her, pray about her, and bring her into our religious speech.
That’s why I am so excited about the “A Mother Here: Heavenly Mother Art and Poetry Contest”. (amotherhere.com) Images are powerful. Poetry is powerful. Like revelation, art opens up the world, showing connections between objects, events, and words that help us see the world around us in a new light. Both will help Mormon women to literally see themselves as nascent gods, and it will inspire the men around them to likewise see in women all that is holy, powerful, and godly.
The “A Mother Here: Heavenly Mother Art and Poetry Contest” is looking for poems and 2-dimensional visual arts pieces that portray Heavenly Mother. The contest is offering over $2200 in prizes to the best entries, which will be chosen by judges Susan Elizabeth Howe (esteemed poet, playwright, and BYU professor) and Herman Du Toit (former head of museum research at BYU’s Museum of Art and former head of the Durban art school). There are two awards categories, poetry and visual arts, with six awards in each category: first place ($500), second place ($300), third place ($150), and 3 honorable mentions ($50 each). The contest will accept entries up until March 4, 2014, and award-winning submissions will be announced on May 11, 2014.
Please support this contest by:
- Spreading the word to all the artists and poets you know, and talking about it in general to draw attention to the contest.
- Submitting work to the contest if you create art or poetry.
- Donating money to help fund the contest. Even $5 will help get the contest to its $3000 goal. Currently the contest is a little more than half funded, and every dollar counts. You can contribute by clicking on the “donate” button that is available on the bottom right hand column of the contest’s webpage (amotherhere.com).
To encourage donations to the contest, those who give $20 or more will receive a thank you gift of a short, print hymnal featuring 15+ hymns that refer to Heavenly Mother. Two examples of such hymns, with their associated PDFs and MIDI (music) files are below.
(1) “O Remember, Little One.” Originally added to the LDS French hymnal in 1993 as “Souviens-toi, Mon Enfant,” this version includes a new English translation, and slight modifications to the music to better accomodate the flow of word syllables. [PDF] [MIDI]
(2) “Our Mother in Heaven.” Originally written in 1893 by William C. Harrison, this companion hymn to “O My Father” was circulated in LDS periodicals, such as the Juvenile Instructor and the Millennial Star. The text has been revised and placed to new music. [PDF] [MIDI]