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Virtual Artwork Tour

The Art of Human Rights

“The denial of human rights is, at the end of the day, inspired in part by the inability to get along with each other, the inability to understand each other’s complexity and the inability to understand each other’s humanity. One of the things that help us understand and appreciate our humanity and recognize and respect it are the arts and humanities.”
– Timothy P. McCarthy, Kennedy School

Throughout the new Wassmuth Education Center, art will convey a story and establish a point of connection with visitors. Over 20 Idaho artists from a variety of backgrounds will have original human rights themed pieces showcased in the building.

Featured Video

Current Art Pieces

“Respect” by Luma Jasim

Jasim is an Iraqi refugee who survived the war with Iran as a young child. As an Iraqi, a refugee, and a woman, an absence of rights is at the core of Jasim’s work. She chose holding hands as the main image because that act is about care, empathy, and intimacy. “Wars come from when you think you are better than others,” she says. She hopes this piece is an invitation to instead respect and have empathy towards those around you.

Different than collage, Jasim’s process was both additive and subtractive. She began by pasting on a transfer image, then peeled it off. She scraped at it. It was a tactile experience, she painted with wood, spatulas and her hands. She added Arabic writing as a symbol of her identity. She left the tone of the canvas to match the old Arabic paper. She chose purple because of its soothing quality. The focal point of the composition is the hands meeting, the lines lead to that point of contact.

“Hope” by Sue Latta

Sue has been a working artist for over 25 years. She has a BFA in Photography and an MFA in Sculpture. Her work has been collected throughout the United States and Canada and is included in the Permanent Collection at the University of Nevada Reno, Boise State University, Boise Visual Chronicle, Idaho Shakespeare Festival and numerous private collections. She has done a number of public projects and received grants from the Idaho Commission on the Arts, the Boise City Arts Commission, ImageOut, Nevada Arts Counsel, and the Alexa Rose Foundation.

“Diversity” by Micqaela Jones

Micqaela is a member of the Temoak Tribe of the Western Shoshone; Micqaela grew up on the Duck Valley Indian Reservation of the Shoshone and Paiute Nations. She began showing her art in 2002 at various shows around the country. Micqaela has participated in the Santa Fe Indian Market, the Eiteljorg Museum Indian Art Market, the Autry Museum Los Angeles, Cherokee Art Market, Red Earth Market, as well as museum shows and solo exhibits. Her work has evolved into an intertwining of her Shoshone culture along with contemporary expressions that result in colorful, vivid paintings.

The first two years of flameworking involved extensive torch time and guidance. Filip continued to travel while taking classes all over the world. He studied with such greats as Robert Mickelson, Kevin O’Grady in Colorado, and Casare Toffolo in Murano, Italy.

“Idaho’s Bill Wassmuth” by John Bertram

Bill Wassmuth, a priest turned activist from northern Idaho, faced backlash from the Aryan Nations in his community. He was head of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations and countered the white supremasicts hate with goodness. They bombed his house. Later, after leaving the church, he directed the Northwest Coalition Against Malicious Harassment. He dedicated his life to providing support, promoting important legislation, and educating people. He was not a bystander to hate, someone who witnesses injustice but doesn’t do or say anything. He was an upstander, someone who recognizes a wrong and takes action to make it right. The Wassmuth Center for Human Rights was founded in 1996, and today the Anne Frank Memorial is a vibrant interactive classroom for Idaho’s school children and citizens. It teaches all how to be upstanders and it inspires people to contemplate the moral implications of their actions and the scope of their civic responsibilities. 

“Reed v. Reed; Ginsburg’s Gauntlet” by Katherine Shaughnessy

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court justice and fierce advocate of human rights, was known for wearing specific collars for certain situations, such as dissenting. New York Times writer Vanessa Freedman called RBG’s collars her “gauntlet,” an armored glove worn by medieval knights. To “lay down your gauntlet” was an act of defiance that signaled one was ready to fight. RBG used her collars as a similar signal. Her dissent collar became an iconic symbol of resistance. The country of South Africa gifted this specific collar to RBG after she visited to celebrate their rebuilt constitution, which was rewritten to protect all people’s human and civil rights (whereas the US wrote its constitution without women, slaves, or people of color in mind).

“Hope’s Defiance” by Reham Aarti

The dark parts of the world (negativity, hatred, misinformation, racism, etc.) are closing in on the central figure. She is using her community, her education, and her intellect to not only push back against the darkness but to break through it. This is reinforced by the way that the figure is standing on a pile of books. The face on the green book is The figure is named Hope, but she’s also the embodiment of hope: she is in the act of defiance. 

Aarti wanted to make women, especially women of color feel seen and understood for the extra ways they have to push back against the world. Aarti chose to make Hope’s skin purple because it doesn’t have a race associated with it. Purple is a color for everybody. 

“Compassion” by Maryfrances Dondelinger

This piece was created by Wassmuth’s widow. She studied as a traditional orthodox iconographer in Italy, and was moved by illuminated manuscripts, formally prepared documents where the text was decorated with flourishes including borders and small illustrations. The Roman Catholic Church often used illuminated manuscripts for prayer. They are often painted with some sort of metal like gold or silver. This piece is a nod to Wassmuth’s Catholic history, which really informed his moral compass and his focus on human rights. He was a progressive Catholic inspired by the words of Sister Joan Chittister, a revolutionary Catholic nun. The quotes on the board are from her.

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©2024 The Wassmuth Center for Human Rights | All rights reserved | Website by 116 & West