When an official of the World Church of the Creator abandoned his national hate group a few years ago, he provided the Montana Human Rights Network with more than 4,000 copies of white supremacist books. The Network, along with Holter Museum of Art, commission 60 artists to recycle the books into works of art.Since then, more than 100 artists have transformed the propaganda, and now, the exhibit “Speaking Volumes: Transforming Hate” is making its way to Lewiston, after traveling for two-and-a-half years to 11 Montana venues.
From paper cranes to paper mobiles, the Lewis-Clark State College Center for Arts and History exhibit will feature not only art, but also films and lecturers, beginning today with Tony Stewart, a human rights advocate, who will provide a speech titled “What is Hate? A Look at the Definition, Sources, Consequences and Antidotes for Hate.”
“It’s a very, very difficult topic,” Stewart said. “Hate is hard to define. I’ll be quoting from some scholars about their definition of what hate is.”
Familiar with hate crimes and groups, Stewart was a founding member of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations, and was also a founding member of the Human Rights Education Institute. Stewart once taught as a political scientist and pre-law adviser at North Idaho College.
“I am retired from the college, but what I am doing now is working on human rights issues and doing a lot of speaking,” said Stewart, who helped the city of Coeur d’Alene approve an anti-discrimination ordinance in June, which set rules to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the community.
As for art, Stewart said, censorship has been popular in anti-Semitic culture, because it was — and still can be — considered too free-thinking.
“The arts are very powerful sources for promoting social justice in some modern democracies,” he said.
Beyond the exhibit, the Center will show the film “A Class Divided” as well as program titled “QueerMusic.” The “Speaking Volumes: Transforming Hate” series stretches through Dec. 10, International Human Rights Day, concluding with speaker Leif Hoffman, a political science assistant professor.
“Exhibits or the theater and both arts and humanities are trying to promote the human spirit and so they’re very important to society and democracy,” Stewart said.
Treffry can be contacted at (208) 883-4640 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at: @LindseyTreffry.
->if you go:
WHAT: “Speaking Volumes: Transforming Hate” exhibit
WHEN: Reception at 4 p.m and Tony Stewart’s speech “What is Hate? A Look at the Definition, Sources, Consequences and Antidotes for Hate” at 6 p.m. Today. The exhibit runs through Dec. 10. Gallery hours are 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
WHERE: Lewis-Clark State College Center for Arts and History, 415 Main St., Lewiston