Speaking Volumes: Transforming Hate showcases the diverse work of 39 artists who have transformed thousands of anti-Semitic and racist books into an uplifting and dynamic exhibition. The exhibition is visually powerful, thought-provoking, sometimes humorous, always challenging, and ultimately deeply moving.
The story of Speaking Volumes began in 2003 when the Montana Human Rights Network in Helena, Montana, acquired more than 4,000 copies of white supremacist books from a defecting leader of one of the most virulent hate groups in the nation. The Human Rights Network, through a partnership with the Holter Museum of Art in Helena, implemented its vision of transforming the books into works of art with a positive message.
Katie Knight, then Curator of Education at the Holter Museum, used her twenty-five years of experience in social justice art and education to guide the community partnership as they developed Speaking Volumes: Transforming Hate. As ongoing curator and manager of the exhibition, she continues to provide logistical and programming support to all museums and galleries that host the exhibition.
After Speaking Volumes: Transforming Hate opened in January 2008 at the Holter Museum of Art, it toured for nearly three years to eleven Montana venues with accompanying educational programs and curriculum. The Montana Human Rights Network sponsors and directs the current national tour, which has been successfully hosted in diverse venues ranging from the Gotthelf Art Gallery at the San Diego Center for Jewish Culture to the Anya and Andrew Shiva Gallery of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, part of the City University of New York. For a complete list of where it has been and will be exhibited, see Previous Venues.
Rarely does an exhibition stimulate so much conversation and creative response among children, youth, and adults. Speaking Volumes: Transforming Hate encourages audiences to explore creative strategies for transforming hate. Visitors often participate in dialogue to share their own stories and listen to others, deepening empathy for those who are perceived as "different," and encouraging respect for social justice.
Participating artists are:
Jane Waggoner Deschner