HELENA - Oddly enough, the hate group calls itself the "Church of the Creator," said Helena sculptor Tim Holmes.
"Hate can't be used to create anything," he said. "Violence, hatred and exclusion always create more of the same."
But merely removing the World Church of the Creator's books with such titles as "Building a Whiter and Brighter World" from circulation doesn't address the dangerous ideas behind the books, Holmes added.
And that's why the Montana Human Rights Network asked Holmes to coordinate an art exhibit using 4,100 hate books the organization recently bought from a former group member.
Holmes has already begun work on the exhibit. He turned one of the books into an ax, another into a mace and another into a Molotov cocktail. He encased "The White Man's Bible" in glass and drove a spike through "American Jihad."
"The artist's responsibility is not to answer questions," Holmes said. "The artist's responsibility is to raise questions."
Holmes' pieces, which sit on a shelf in his Helena studio, are the first art works to incorporate a few of the confiscated racist books. But they are far from the last.
Holmes is seeking artists from all over the country and maybe the world to contribute pieces to a traveling exhibit made solely from the racist books. Sculptor Kate Hunt of Creston has already agreed to work on the project.
Holmes and Hunt are currently looking for an exhibit curator. Holmes said he expects the project to be complete by summer 2005.
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"The opportunity to work with this material is once in a lifetime," Hunt said in her home studio, surrounded by sculptures in the making.
But the project will also be quite a challenge, she added.
"My work is really about beautiful things," Hunt said. "It's about having a conversation. And every page in these books is blood-boiling."
Hunt, who creates newspaper, steel and twine sculptures, said the books are just "too white."
"They are ugly - there's no getting around that," Hunt said. "They published it as white as they could. It's absolutely nauseating."
The books the artists must use as raw material are a very bright white, with bright orange racist symbols adorning their covers. Every page is dedicated, as Holmes says, to "fomenting war on other races."
Hunt said she's going to use the books to "push the issue" back onto racists and other hate-mongers by turning the books into an American flag.
"The challenge with these books is to work with them and bring them into the context of what they are," Hunt said. "We'll see what comes out of it."