A Mother Here: Heavenly Mother Art and Poetry Contest
“You can’t be what you can’t see.” That’s the line from Miss Representation that has stuck with me since I saw the film over a year ago. It rang true to me then when I thought of girls envisioning their lives, and it rings true to me now when I think of the new Heavenly Mother Art and Poetry Contest that is currently being organized by Martin Pulido, great-grandson of painter Minerva Teichert and co-author of that BYU Studies article on Heavenly Mother.
How can 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? Does this cultural silence mean that women look forward to an eternity of invisibility and subsumption into male divinity? I refuse to believe that, and I fear the soul-stunting results of this silence about Heavenly Mother on Mormon women (and men, for that matter). We desperately need images that bring Heavenly Mother into the forefront of Mormons’ 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. Images are powerful. Poetry is powerful. Both will help Mormon women to literally see themselves as gods, and it will inspire the men around them to likewise see in women all that is holy, powerful, and godly.
Mary Daly famously said, “If god is male, then male is god.” I think there’s a lot of truth in that, and I don’t want to inhabit a tradition in which god is nearly always depicted as male. So all you artists and poets, please submit your work to this contest. And all of you that know artists or poets, please refer them to the contest website. Thousands of dollars will be given out in prize money to the winners, and there is no cost to enter. The submission deadline is March 14, 2014. By the way, we are only half-funded for the contest. So if you believe in this project, please consider donating $5 or $10 through paypal on the website.
I’d love to know your thoughts about this contest, and ways we might expand it in the future. Perhaps in a couple of years we should do a contest for Heavenly Mother music? What else?