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Summer Honors Fellow Discovers Inspiration in Religious Icons

Loyola Marymount University senior Kyra-lin Hom said she’d always been interested in the similarities between religious icons from the East and the West. As a 2010 Summer Honors Fellow, Hom is traveling to China to study comparative theology through art.

“There’s a broad range of what people think about the East-West connection. I want to dig at the heart and investigate, without judgment, how and why the iconography is used,” said Hom, an Asian and Pacific Studies and screenwriting double major with a minor in English.

Hom will travel for five weeks to Buddhist and Taoist temples throughout China and conduct interviews with monks and other religious persons. She will research the meanings of the icons, how they’re used in meditation and daily life, and whether or not they’re considered idolatry.

“I’ve always loved art. I love the idea behind art, especially religion in art.  This trip will give my research more meaning and substance,” Hom said. “It will definitely test me and I hope that it’ll expand my academic horizons.”

Each year, the LMU Honors Program offers fellowships for summer projects conducted around the world. Fellows are awarded $5,000 to support research, travel, internships or tuition. “Being a recipient of this award is pretty phenomenal. It dictated what I’d be doing during the summer,” Hom said.