As a Catholic arts magazine, we find ourselves wondering what we can bring to the table during our country’s current crisis. The shocking death of George Floyd has shaken not just the United States but the whole world, reminding us starkly of how far we still are from seeing each other’s infinite dignity as children of God.
Most tragic of all is realizing that, if Floyd’s death has led to a great societal outcry, it is because he is only one among so many who have lost their lives in similar circumstances. Like many others, we are asking ourselves questions of how to respond to violence and the violation of human dignity, including persistent racial violence that has been directed especially against the black community.
Dappled Things is calling on visual artists to help us see more clearly: to help us honor and highlight the infinite worth inherent within each victim of racial violence. To do so, we are establishing the Bakhita Prize for the Visual Arts, which will be awarded for a photograph, painting, illustration, or sculpture that helps us better see the humanity and God-given worth of victims of racial violence. Saint Josephine Bakhita, after whom the prize is named, was a Sudanese slave brutalized by her captors, who later became a religious sister renowned for her joyfulness, gentleness, and charity. Today she is the patroness of Sudan and survivors of human trafficking. The Bakhita Prize will pay $1000 to the winner and $250 to the runner-up. The two winning pieces, plus up to eight honorable mentions, will be published in Dappled Things, and the artists of all published pieces will also receive a year’s subscription to the journal and the opportunity to participate in potential exhibitions that may be organized once social-distancing restrictions no longer apply.
UPDATED Deadline for submission: September 30, 2020
Winners announced: October 15, 2020
Click here to submit your work.
Q: Must the art depict racial violence, or identifiable historical victims of it?
A: No, the fundamental thematic element is that the work should “honor and highlight the infinite worth” inherent within victims of such violence. It is up to the artist to decide how to communicate that idea.
Q: Must the work be explicitly religious?
A: No, though certainly there are many opportunities within the theme to use the artistic and theological resources within the Christian treasury to great effect.
Q: Is any particular style or approach to art required?
A: No, though the judges will be looking not only for thematic fit but excellence in execution in the winning pieces. Familiarity with artwork previously featured in the journal would likely be helpful to those submitting their work.
Q: Who is eligible to submit their work?
A: Anyone who is not a staff member of Dappled Things or the Collegium Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture, or a direct family member of them, is eligible to submit. Artists from all over the world, of any nationality, ethnicity, or race, can submit their own original work. Submissions will be judged on a blind basis.
Q: Should I include an artist’s statement?
A: No, we are looking for pieces that speak for themselves as visual art, without need of extrinsic explanations.