OGDEN — “The White Man’s Bible” and “RAHOWA” — two books used by white supremacists and white separatists as guides — are being used to transform hate into art.
The Ogden Union Station Museum is hosting “Speaking Volumes: Transforming Hate,” an exhibit from Montana in which artists have used more than 4,000 white supremacy books to create works of art. The free exhibit opened June 15 and will be in Ogden until Sept. 3.
Katie Knight is the curator of the exhibit and a volunteer with the Montana Human Rights Network, the sponsor of the project. She said the exhibit was created so people can have a discussion about history.
“I think it’s really essential that we have a deep dialogue and examination of our history of discrimination,” Knight told the Standard-Examiner in a phone call from Montana. “We need to examine our hearts.”
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The story of how this exhibit came about is interesting in itself. It all starts with the Creativity Movement, a white supremacist group that upheld Adolf Hitler as their prophet.
In 2003, a white supremacist escaping the Creativity Movement, formerly known as the Church of the Creator, sold more than 4,000 books and original correspondence from the Creativity Movement to the Montana Human Rights Network.
Knight said the network bought the materials to take them out of circulation and to prevent the white supremacist group from making an additional profit from the materials.
But what would a human rights group do with these hate-filled pieces?
“Destroying the books would be inconsistent for a group that is supporting freedom of expression,” Knight said.
So the network contacted about 40 artists and asked them to create artistic works based on the books. Knight said only 12 responded to that invitation, so they decided to make a national call.
The exhibition based at the Holter Museum of Art opened in 2008. The local exhibit has about 30 pieces on display. Prior to Ogden, it had a stop in Springville.
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Holly Andrew, Ogden Union Station Museum director, said she hopes members of the community can see the exhibit and start a conversation about race, symbolism, discrimination and inequality.
“We want people to understand that (this) is not an us-versus-them issue,” Andrew said. “These messages in these books are very anti-a-lot-of-people.”
The museum has planned different activities around the exhibit.
On July 31, the Ogden Diversity Commission will host a town hall discussion on race at 6 p.m. at the Union Station.
The full list of events associated with the exhibit can be found on the museum’s website.
Knight said the current political climate makes the exhibit more relevant than before.
“We need to look at the foundations of inequity … they’ve been inherent in our history,” Andrew said. “Americans hold high ideals of justice, but we have a hard time facing our history and institutional racism.”