Speaking Volumes: Helena exhibit challenges bigotry

"Speaking Volumes: Transforming Hate" comes home to Holter Museum for 10th anniversary

Art Beat
Maggy Rozycki Hiltner: "Requiem"
“Requiem” by Red Lodge artist Maggy Rozycki Hiltner is new to the exhibit.

The groundbreaking exhibit, “Speaking Volumes: Transforming Hate” returns to the Holter Museum of Art in Helena for its 10th anniversary, and is on display through the end of the year. Additionally, the Montana Human Rights Network and eight other community organizations are sponsoring programming in Helena that provides opportunities to address bigotry through thought-provoking art, theater, and lectures.

History of “Speaking Volumes”

When a defecting white supremacist called the MHRN in 2003, he said he wanted out of the movement. He needed help since leaving meant he would become a “race traitor” to his former associates. The Network helped him get out safely and purchased from him the contents of a storage locker in Superior, which contained over 4,100 white supremacist books. This acquisition eliminated the hate group’s main fundraising mechanism and helped end its presence in Montana. The Network sent sets of the books (13 different titles in all) to allied organizations and other interested parties around the country and decided to transform the remainder into art that could be used as a tool to organize resistance to white nationalism.

Helena’s Holter Museum and activist-artist Katie Knight curated the new exhibition and brought the idea to fruition in 2008. The exhibition, which stimulates discussion about the dangers of anti-Semitism, violence, racism, homophobia and bigotry, has since appeared in 27 venues across the country and showcased artists from Montana and across the U.S. who transformed the message and books of the white nationalist movement into uplifting works of art.

Exhibit returns to Holter Museum

After touring for a decade, the Network and Holter are again coming together. The exhibition, on display through Dec. 31, includes 44 artists, including six new artists whose work addresses the political, social, historical, and environmental consequences of white supremacy as it moves from the margins to the mainstream of American society. New to the exhibition are Corwin Clairmont, Maggie Rozycki Hiltner, Katie Knight, Lewis Koch, Wendy Maruyama, and Chris Riccardo.

Speaking Volumes will also feature a display of creative, one-of-a-kind books that explore strategies for transforming hate.

For a complete list of events, visit mhrn.org/speakingvolumes/.