Monday, January 20, 2014

"Homage to George Jackson" by Antonio Frasconi

We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered. 
-Martin Luther King Jr.  

The woodcut master Antonio Frasconi died just about a year ago. (You can read his his NY Times obituary here.) He often made political images and was committed as an artist to social justice, as seen in this image he created of the Black Panther activist George Jackson.

I find it a difficult and haunting image to look at. A striking arrangement of textures punctuated by sharp shapes of black that sink into endless voids. Jackson's figure, helplessly bound on the ground, is a mountain of fabric, flesh, and metal, against stark and blindly white light. The bottom of a shoe, a bent knee, clenched fists, they all struggle against the chains that hold him down. He wears an expression of raw pain. No matter how much people are dehumanized by enemies, how much they are made to suffer, humanity can't be stripped away. All people... All people.

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