After the Burn

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    Photo: Stephen Pitkin / Pitkin Studio
2011
Fabric, metal, wood, clothing, and enamel on canvas on wood
72 x 72 x 10 inches

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Can a tortured, scattered and distressed tree survive against all odds? This question is the central theme posed in After the Burn.

Can a tortured, scattered and distressed tree survive against all odds? This question is the central theme posed in After the Burn. Can tortured, scattered and diasporic, culturally ostracized lives survive and recreate themselves with new identities in a New World? Can one make a path out of no path? Can seeds of hope, life and love be planted on a barren and hostile soil? Can a dead tree take root, grow and bear fruits? In many African myths of origin, a planted seed could give life to a miracle—performing tree. Dial’s composition answers these questions affirmatively. In his reference to the burn, Dial also alludes to the agricultural technique known as “slash-and-burn,” in which the vegetation left after the harvest is burned to prepare the land for subsequent growth. The included shoes are climbing, the struggle for freedom is ongoing. There can be a path out of no path. A rebirth is viable after the burn. —Diala Toure