Twelve years of work. Over 60,000 pieces of hand-crafted and hand-painted glass. Eighty panes 10 feet high and 200 feet in length.
No wonder The Guardian called it “one of the most spectacular stained glass windows made in the past century.”
Headed up by LDS artist Tom Holdman, the display Roots of Knowledge, unveiled at Utah Valley University for its 75th anniversary, captures the history of knowledge, of humanity, and of our desire to learn and grow.
But Latter-day Saints who visit the display will undoubtedly find much of the religious symbolism in this vivid work of art.
"At the ends, we have two bookends, with the tree of knowledge at the beginning," Holdman explains.
The roots of the tree of knowledge feed into a scene depicting Adam and Eve. "You can see the tree of life, and it's a tree in the springtime, but if you look closely you can see it's a tree made of all races and nations, and it's leaves spread throughout all time."
With a tree of faith, a tree of liberty, and others scattered throughout the history of humanity, "all of these roots feed the tree of the hope for humanity," Holdman says. "The tree turns into a type of flame, as it were. We are passing on the flame to those who will go after us and all those branches of hope they then feed back in time . . . and so our ancestors have hope for us."
Featuring not only glass but petrified wood, fossils, a piece of the berlin wall, gems, precious stones, even significant coins in our history, the display truly captures the creativity and luminous brilliance of the human spirit.
"It is the story of us," Holdman shares.