An Analysis Of Can These Bones Live By Theodore A. Harriss

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Through three separate panels of a collage styled piece of art, Theodore A. Harris brings the viewers’ attention to the injustices in America’s society. Can These Bones Live, created in 2008 by Harris, tells a story. Although the three panels are independent from one another, they are not disconnected by any means. One can notice this through the repetition of the unstable composition, same figures, and ink drippings in his work of art. An analysis of Can These Bones Live reveals that the integration of these components gives the viewer feelings of apprehension and melancholy.
At first glance, the arrangement of Can These Bones Live appears random. There are jagged rips in the piece, bullet holes over transparent images, and parts completely
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Some of the guests are also visible at the wedding, but are much further back in the scene while Nixon is in the foreground. This displays the power that he has over his wife and society. The second panel is black and white conveying a different meaning. The reasoning for this change in color, differing from the rest of the piece, could be because of Malcolm X’s stance in history; which was nevertheless defending African Americans rights throughout his life. Malcolm X is placed in a hand cuffed frame in the art work, a chain connects him to Uncle Sam (in a hand cuffed frame as well), who represented the “I Want YOU!” political poster for the United States army. One could interpret this as a means of stopping Malcolm X, for at that time in history, what he was presenting was not accepted by most of the country. The dove in the corner of this panel, and in the following one is known as a symbol of peace, it being upside down changes ones’ perception of peace, and “WAR” plastered over the dove in different directions brings this hateful aspect to the viewer. These figures were prominent throughout the sixties, connecting all the panels together in a historical light. The repetition of Uncle Sam, the dove, and key wording in the artistic piece allows the panels to not feel detached from one …show more content…
It really elicits these feelings of alarm and allows one to see that Theodore A. Harris is describing the injustices in American society. In the first section, reading “CAN THESE BONES LIVE” a repeatable amount of times allowed me to understand that Harris is making a point. People in higher standing like Nixon can live, but Malcolm X? In the following panel, there are bullet holes with the Miranda rights listed, a word under a single bullet. What is left out is the word “attorney,” exemplifying that one does not have right to one when they are not alive to obtain it. This section creates an undeniable mood of sorrow which is not present in the other panels. This is felt numerous amount of times in this section, especially with “American Citizens Liberty Union” written over Uncle Sam’s face, displaying the power they held during that time over the masses. As well as A. Diallo getting the right to remain silent without the NYPD saying one

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