Journeys of Faith: Portraits of LGBTQ Mormons
Last Friday, I had the opportunity to go to the exhibition opening of Journeys of Faith: Portraits of LGBTQ Mormons, a collection of portraits by Seattle-based artist, Melinda Hannah.
The project is funded through a GoFundMe and has been displayed in various galleries in Provo and Seattle for the past year and a half and Hannah has added portraits to the collection during that time. There is hope that it’ll visit Utah again after its time in Berkeley, so even if you’ve seen it, there will be new portraits to see.
The opening of the exhibit was paired with a panel discussion with Hannah and some of the people whose portraits were displayed. When asked about why she wanted to do this series or portraits, Hannah responded, “What if I somehow reveal the beauty and dignity of all of us?”
The evening was really wonderful and warm. Panelists talked about coming out, balancing Mormonism with their identities, and their testimonies of Christ. You can watch the recording of the panel discussion here.
If you are interested in just portions of the discussion, here are the times/questions.
5:00 – introductions to the panelists
10:00 – “Can you speak briefly about what led you to create this artwork and how these 10:00 – portraits relate to your life and vocation as an artist?”
15:00 – “For many years LGBT people inside conservative religions like Mormonism were invisible and today that is changing. How does seeing portraits of many who like you, like us, are working to integrate their religion and their sexual orientation and gender identity affect you on your own personal faith journey?”
23:00 – “What message would you most want to convey to the suffering, confused, and silent LGBT Mormons who, of course still exist inside the religion?”
27:30 – “What is the state of your own testimony of Christ at this point in your faith journey and how has that changed over time?”
37:50 – Questions from the audience
It was really great to talk with some of the panelists, some who traveled states away to make it to the discussion. If you can see the exhibit in person, you really should. It would make a great visiting teaching or youth activity.
The exhibit will be at the Bade Museum at the Pacific School of Religion through May 31 in Berkeley, CA. It is open to the public on Mondays from 10am-2pm. You can also contribute to and follow the GoFundMe to get updates about where the exhibit will be next.