Modern Art Monday Presents: This is The Place By Susannah Kirby

this is the place photo by gail worley
All Photos By Gail

This is the Place Heritage Park is a Utah State Park located on the east side of Salt Lake City, at the foot of the Wasatch Range and near the mouth of Emigration Canyon.  The park’s location is where, on July 24, 1847, Brigham Young first saw the Salt Lake Valley, which would soon become the new home for the Mormon pioneers.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe Young had a vision shortly after they were exiled from Nauvoo, Illinois. In the vision, he saw the place where the Latter-day Saints would settle and “make the desert blossom like a rose” and where they would build their State of Deseret. As the account goes, Young was very sick with Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and was riding in the back of a wagon. After exiting Emigration Canyon and cresting a small hill, he asked to look out of the wagon. Those with him opened the canvas cover and propped him up so he could see the empty desert valley below. He then proclaimed, “It is enough. This is the right place. Drive on.” The words, “this is the place,” were soon heard throughout the wagon train as the Mormon pioneers descended into the valley, their long journey having come to an end. A Utah state holiday, Pioneer Day, occurs each year on July 24 to commemorate the entry of the Mormon pioneers into the valley.

This Is The Place (1990), a fun and colorful painting by local Salt Lake City artist Susannah Kirby pays tribute to Young (who is seen at the top left side of the canvas) and his famous declaration, while also including nods and winks to various notable Salt Lake City  facts and figures, including actress Loretta Young (no relation Brigham), depicted on the top right side of  the painting. You can also spot diverse visual references to things Utah is known for, including  Snelgrove ice cream parlors, the Native American tribe Ute (from which the state takes it’s name), and the Framed ‘Home Sweet Home’ slogan over a Beehive, as Utah is the Beehive State. Meticulously reconstructed skeletal remains of the dinosaurs seen roaming freely in the foreground are now on display in Salt Lake City’s Natural History Museum of Utah.

Photographed in the Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA) in Salt Lake City.

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