Local artist is a 2021 graduate of Lee's Summit High School

Mallek Dyer is still blown away when thinking that one of their works of art is at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library in Independence.

Mallek, graduated from Lee’s Summit High School this year. The digital art piece on display was given as an art assignment from an international baccalaureate visual art class.

The project was one of two assigned to the students, the first was something on Thomas Hart Benton and the other was their choice. The artwork was the final project for the students in the two IB visual art classes.

The library held a soft opening on July 2 but no official date for the grand re-opening has been set. When it does, Mallek will be there to showcase and talk about the work.

“It is super awesome and I never expected something like this to happen,” Mallek said. “I had an idea in my mind immediately and I had to work backwards in how our class functioned to come up with the artwork. I came up with the design and followed the guideline.”

Mallek used the mobile app, Adobe Fresco, to make the digital drawing. He noted that typically more ‘hands on’ art projects are their style, but enjoyed making this piece.

The vibrant piece features purple, red, green, yellow, orange, navy blue, pink, light, brown, black and white. The figure has a resemblance to the Statue of Liberty, with an arm extended high.

Mallek Artwork for Truman Library

"The clothes pin is a common signal to others that the wearer is a safe person and will help protect people if needed," Veronica Dyer said while describing her piece now on display at the Truman Library in Independence. "I believe it started for POC and indigenous & immigrative people by a punk community, becoming adopted by the LGBT community as well. The colors on the gown are the Progress Pride flag — inclusive of people of color as well as the LGBT community, and also putting the Transgender flag on the flag as well. On the arm that’s raised are bruises, representing survivors of abuse. The whole piece is meant to help represent those who aren’t commonly represented in media, those who face disparities in social standards and via discrimination."

“I wanted it to help bring more awareness to people who have differences that are kind of put down in society,” Mallek said.

He has had artwork featured in the hallways of LSHS but to have one displayed in one of the presidential libraries is on a much grander scale.

Mallek has been drawn to art for as long as he can remember. Memories of elementary school are still vivid, rotating from music to art to physical education.

Of the three, art was the one that made the biggest connection.

“Art is something I want to focus on (in college),” Mallek said. “Art is so important to the world and it is everywhere you look — movies, arts, TV, music and if you look at downtown Lee’s Summit, all of those sculptures. I love art because it is fun and it is important to me.”

There are currently 13 presidential libraries across the United States and a 14th — Barack Obama’s — is still in the developmental process in Chicago.

The Truman Presidential Library, which opened in 1957, recently underwent a $30 million renovation project. The art project from local students is part of the process to celebrate the grand re-opening.

Mallek casually mentioned to his parents that he was working on a project that could go in the Independence library for Missouri’s only president.

“As I started, it hit me, this is something I don’t get to do ever in my art career,” Mallek said. “I didn’t go out of my way to make a big deal or say ‘I’m an artist in the Truman Library.’ It felt more special to me as the realization sunk in. I know there are only so many presidential libraries and there is a low chance you will be selected to have a chance to work with any of them, let alone working for Missouri’s only president and being someone who lives in Missouri, it is incredible.”

Mallek paused for a second and let out a little chuckle, perhaps out of disbelief.

“I honestly don’t know what will happen when it sinks in. It will be even more incredible and even more wonderful.”

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