UVU Art & Design
This book is part of an ongoing Fine Art Book Series involving students and faculty in the Art & Design department at Utah Valley University. Here you will see a sampling of work culled from thousands of images both drawn and photographed. The design and assembly of these books comprise an entire year of work and represent well over ten thousand man-hours. The process that brought about the images in the pages of this book represents all the questions, passion, and promise that are present in provocative visual exploration. For more than thirty Art & Design students, it also represents discord. We experienced more discussion, conflict, and disagreement than the three prior books combined making it the most difficult to resolve.
This project started as a look back at the history of the Civil War. As events have played out in the past few years, it expanded to include slavery and the subsequent quest for civil rights. Few in the group had knowledge of this area beyond history books, documentaries, and news releases. For some, the Civil War, slavery, and the fight for civil rights were just memories of a far-removed sullied past. For others, all the sins and bigotry and hate south of the Mason Dixon line never left. Visualizing the chaos and dissension of battlefields, experiencing the legacy of slavery and civil rights, as well as interacting with many individuals whose heritage is intertwined in this history helped to contextualize and inform the students and their work as they explored these topics.
So many varied experiences, thoughts, ideas, and reactions to the circumstances leading up to and following the Civil War led to many questions. Morally, how could one human enslave another? Who are the heroes and who are the villains? Can hearts be softened and wrongs righted? Are we as a country, still divided? How can conflict that started before the United States began and still seems without conclusion, be summed up in so few pages? We determined it could not be and in the process far more questions were raised than answered.
Thus, the book, like the conflicts it covers, explores issues yet unresolved. Issues that are essential to be collectively improved upon to keep progressing as humans and Americans.