“Becoming America” Provides a Voice to Those Who Have Been Forgotten

 In MOA Features

Guest post by Abbie Daniels, MOA Marketing & PR Intern

The story of America is one of complexity. While the ideas behind America are those of equality and freedom, in action and in societal values those ideas have often been left behind. The stars and stripes have been riddled with technicalities and contradictions from the very beginning.

It is easy to focus on the great “Americana” fables of Johnny Appleseed and George Washington chopping down a cherry tree but beneath these fictions are the tales of the masses. Built on the backs of those left in the dust, America’s history is that of both the successful and the downtrodden.

The idea and memory of those shoved aside have been visualized in the BYU MOA’s exhibition Becoming America. This new exhibit is arranged by theme and as visitors walk through the halls they get different stories and perspectives of how this nation and its people came to be. Stories of triumph and blessings abide, but tucked away is what’s left of the outcasts.

Maynard Dixon, "Forgotten Man," 1934

Maynard Dixon (1875-1946), “Forgotten Man,” 1934, oil on canvas, 40 x 50 1/8 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art.

The exhibit features pieces like a duo of Mahonri Young fighter sculptures featuring a victor, hands raised to the sky, and a loser, collapsed to the ground all emotions and energy expended, and Forgotten Man by Maynard Dixon, showing a destitute man sitting alone on the step, as those behind him pay no mind. These works, along with others, tell the stories of those who felt the door of a nation shut on them.

We can find truth in each perspective still today. Those that have been brushed off often find a voice in the solitude, their voices are ringing through the walls of the museum. At the Museum of Art, the hope is to provide a platform for the edification of all voices, both forgotten and celebrated.

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