Jessica K. Long
2005, oil on canvas (photo)
Slavery is still very much alive, even in today’s society. For years, I have been moved by the legacy that slavery has left in our world and have made a promise to myself that I will create works of art in order to show the people of today how important it is to learn about slavery and the impact that it has had on all mankind. In this piece, entitled The Burden of these Lands, my visual image was inspired by the words that came to mind when I thought about the horrendous institution of slavery.
The words that create the grass are stream of consciousness aimed at engaging the viewer and inspiring people to think about all the different aspects of slavery that affected those that were imprisoned and tortured as enslaved people. There is also a text on the clothing of the figure which addresses the impact that slavery has had on her as well as her fellow enslaved people. I wrote the text so that it will not matter how viewers reads it, as long as they get a glimpses into the abuses with which enslaved persons were plagued.
The bold, bright colors as well as the thick black outline that I chose were intended to captivate the viewer. The primary colors were variations or reds, greens, and black as a reflection of the colors representative of Africans and their descendents. Red is representative of the blood that was shed in order for us to have the freedom we have today. Green is representative of the motherland of Africa to which our roots can be traced. And finally, black is representative of our heritage and the pride that we, as African descendents, should always carry in our hearts for our ancestors that carried all of the white man’s burdens on their shoulders due to the injustices that the institution of slavery served to them.
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