For more on Mother in Heaven, please see the newly released Spring 2022 Issue.
By Linda Hoffman Kimball
The Dialogue Foundation Board was thrilled to honor three artists for their work in the 2021 Certain Women Art Show, which featured the theme “Reflections on a Mother in Heaven.”
The first is Heather Graham for her exquisitely framed and sensitively rendered triptych “The Great Plan of Salvation”. From front to back, closed to open, left to right, right to left, this handsome triptych is skillfully painted in oil on linen. The levels and lessons of its symbolism stretch beyond mortal time represented in each of its components. We found it holy, pastoral, embracing, meditative, powerful, and transcendently alive. Those are each fitting adjectives for what we envision for the feminine divine.
Heather Graham’s artist statement:
“Prophets have taught that our heavenly parents work together for the salvation of the human family.” This polyptych landscape contains symbols of our Heavenly Family and the plan of salvation.
The left panel represents our Heavenly Mother. Hollyhocks are a symbol of holiness, healing, abundance, and the circle of life. These flowers were from the garden of my beloved mother, who has passed beyond the veil, and hollyhocks remind me of her.
The center panel represents Jesus Christ and his overarching atonement that saves the whole human family. The sun’s reflection in the water represents baptism. The pine tree symbolizes eternal life, a gift given to all by Christ. Sacred groves and trees are mentioned in the bible as a place of worship and covenant-making. The restoration of the gospel in this dispensation took place in the Sacred Grove, where Joseph Smith and his mother both used to pray. The other reflections represent our heavenly family reflected in our earthly family—as above, so below.
The right panel represents experiences and covenants made with our Heavenly Father during different dispensations. The tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil with Adam and Eve, the Rainbow to Noah’s family, and mountains represent our temples.
When the panel doors are shut, the Tree of Life is revealed. The Tree of Life, its fruit, and the Fountain of Living Waters, as described in 1 Nephi, represent the love of God and Christ’s Atonement. For now, a veil separates us from our Heavenly Parents and loved ones that have passed on, but we look forward to a happy reunion with them and eternal life in the world to come.
Second is Laura Erekson for her exuberant, large scale mixed media piece “Hidden in Plain Sight: The Scriptures are Laid Before Thee.” With a delightful eye for design and exceptional craftsmanship, Laura created this boisterous, powerful, feminine “Hallelujah!” This work of art is nearly audible in its joy and physical presence. We found it playful, expansive, welcoming, masterfully constructed and vividly imagined.
Laura Erekson’s artist statement:
I was told you existed but you were nowhere to be found
You were mentioned on occasion with the utmost respect
I thought little of it as I danced, and I sang, and I created
Stumbling more and more as the years passed by
And I knew you were there but I couldn’t see you
I then grew life inside me and brought her into this
world Breath flooded her with color and I found a
fragment of you I thought more and more of it as we
danced, and we sang, and we created Stumbling all
the while as the months passed by And I knew you
were there and saw more and more of you I now
have three little ones who cling to my legs and run to
my arms They are a part of me as I am a part of you I
think of it both day and night as we dance, and we
sing, and we create Stumbling while planting seeds
and collecting flowers as the days pass by
And I know you are here and have found you
Third, Rebecca Klundt for her Reclaimed wood and acrylic eye-catcher “Hannah’s Gift.” This is a glorious contemplation of the story of Hannah and invites conversation, meditation, and even action. From the scriptures we know that Hannah’s “first born son Samuel was lent to the Lord to be become a great prophet and redeem his people.” Rebecca draws our attention and celebrates a modest detail (and apt symbol) also included in Samuel’s story: “so his mother made him a little coat and brought it to him from year to year when she and her husband came up to the temple to offer the yearly sacrifices.”
What of the other Mother who “lent her Son” to the earth to be “the Redeemer of His people”? Does our own “mothering” on earth reflect and reassure us of an Eternal Mother’s intimate love for each of us?
Rebecca Klundt’s artist statement:
“For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of Him. Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD.
As long as he liveth, he shall be lent to the Lord”
And so…his mother made him a little coat,
and brought it to him from year to year
This first born Samuel was offered up to the Lord.
To become a great prophet for Israel
and save his people.
So Hannah did for her son the thing she was able.
Sewing a “little coat”–each year.
Accounting for the growth she was not witnessing
The journey up
to place it with a mother’s care on his now broader shoulders.
This is a story of a righteous mother’s sacrifice and privilege.
Is it not also the otherwise untold story of a Heavenly Mother who also humbly “lent Him to the Lord”?
Was She also able to come to clothe Him in an appropriate hour?
I never saw Her weep,
but I know that soulful
anxiousness for children
along with the brilliant joy
common to the condition of Motherhood
and I know
She did weep.
He had a Mother There.