WEST HARTFORD — The Art Museum at the University of Saint Joseph will open the exhibition “In Memoriam: Commemorative Works by Contemporary Artists” with a public reception on Thursday, Sept. 13, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. The exhibition will remain on view through Dec. 16.

“In Memoriam” features an international selection of contemporary artists who have created commemorative pieces inspired by their personal experiences, beliefs, or concerns; they honor family members and friends, commemorate events with political or social significance, or pay tribute to cultural heroes or mentors.

“These works allow us to explore fundamental questions about the impulse to memorialize individuals or events, and to examine the role of memory and myth, the use of cultural symbols and traditions, and the ways in which these works assert identity and interpret history,” remarked Director and Curator Ann Sievers. “In Memoriam” is a particularly timely exhibition, as American communities discuss the messages conveyed by public monuments and debate who and what should be commemorated in the public square. The Art Museum will be the sole venue for this exhibition.

Artists featured in the exhibition include:

Nick Cave, whose sculpture “TM13” memorializes Trayvon Martin.

Hank Willis Thomas, whose “Raise Up,” inspired by a photo from apartheid-era South Africa, led to a second version installed at the new National Memorial for Peace and Justice (Montgomery, Ala.).

Adel Abidin, whose memory of the 1991 U.S. bombing of Baghdad inspired a haunting video almost two decades later.

Ann McCoy, who honors Dr. C.A. Meier, the famous Jungian psychologist.

Jave Yoshimoto, whose 30 ft.-long painting commemorates victims of the 2011 Japanese tsunami.

Takami Nakamoto and Maurice Mikkers, whose video literally crystallizes Nakamoto’s grief over a lost friend.

Pepón Osorio, whose “A Mis Adorables Hijas” (To My Darling Daughters) remembers a Puerto Rican woman who committed suicide in New York.

Belkis Ramirez, who honors poet Julia de Burgos.

Yolanda Vásquez Petrocelli, whose prints memorialize her Mexican grandmother.

Public programming associated with In Memoriam includes:

The Uccello Fine Art Lectures, featuring two scholars of public monuments and memorials: Nicole Eaton (Oct. 11, 7 p.m.) and Erika Doss (Nov. 4, 4:30 p.m.). Hoffman Auditorium, Bruyette Athenaeum. Free of charge.

A Day of the Dead Altar Community Project, led by artist Yolanda Vasquéz Petrocelli, Nov. 1 to 4, featuring workshops (Nov. 1 to 3) and a public reception (Nov. 4, 2 to 4 p.m.). Free of charge, but advance registration is required. Contact Rochelle Oakley, collections manager and registrar, at 860-231-5743 or roakley@usj.edu.

Family Day at the Art Museum, Nov. 3, 1 to 3 p.m., featuring activities in the exhibition galleries and a Day of the Dead Altar workshop. Free of charge and open to the public. No advance registration required.