3rd Place Winner of the 2023 Book of Mormon Art Contest: Tehya Vassar

Tehya Vassar, “And They Were Strong,” 2023, charcoal drawing

Inspired by 1 Nephi 17.

Artist statement from Tehya Vassar (computer science undergraduate):

This is a charcoal drawing of the imagined portrait of one of the women in Lehi’s family. 1 Nephi 17: 2-3 reads, in part, “So great were the blessings of the Lord upon us, that while we did live upon raw meat in the wilderness, our women did give plenty of suck for their children, and were strong, yea, even like unto the men; and they began to bear their journeyings without murmurings. And thus we see that…if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God He doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them.” This is the scripture that inspired my drawing.

I wanted to capture the facial expression of a woman being strengthened and nourished by the Lord–a woman who is strong, faithful, and long-suffering. With the simplicity of charcoal, I wanted to depict the hope in her eyes, the fortitude in her face, and the trust of her sleeping infant. Women are not often represented in Book of Mormon art, especially those who go unnamed, but I felt it important to give this mother a face. She is an inspiration to me. Each woman faces different challenges to caring for children in faith. It is important to remember that God will help us. As many other women in the scriptures have learned, nothing is impossible to God. When we keep His commandments, He will help us. Our children are not just ours; they are His, too.