A rare opportunity for transformation arose in Montana in 2004. A defecting leader of the “Creativity Movement” – one of the most virulent white supremacist hate groups in the nation – presented the Montana Human Rights Network with 4000 volumes of their “bibles,” books promoting extreme anti-Semitic, anti-Christian, racist ideologies.
In partnership with the Network, the Holter Museum of Art invited artists across the country to respond to, integrate, or transform the books in provocative ways. Work by sixty artists was featured in the resulting exhibition, Speaking Volumes: Transforming Hate, which opened at the Holter Museum in Helena, Montana, in 2008.
We have all been socialized to both subtle and overt forms of prejudice that contribute to attitudes of fear and mistrust and restrict our capacity to more fully experience the world. While the rapid rise in the number of hate groups and hate crimes is a cause for alarm, so is institutionalized discrimination. Systemic oppression broadly impacts members of many groups based on their race, religion, gender, sexual identity, country of origin, disabilities, economic class, and age. By responding creatively to hate, injustice and violence, the artists in Speaking Volumes provoke thinking and conversations that encourage empathy for others and respect for social justice.