Lost Americans

Back to Artist

Click on image to enlarge

Photo: Stephen Pitkin / Pitkin Studio
2008
Wood chest, chair parts, mannequin parts, corrugated tin, metal, letterman's jacket, clothing, quilted fabric, rope, nails, metal banding, found wood, tree stump, faux leather, and enamel on wood
72 x 96 x 13.5 inches

Collection of:

Description: 

Lost Americans is an homage to all the forgotten folk who endured the “hard life” from as far back as “slavery times.” It is an effort to exhume the trace record of this who toiled, suffe

Lost Americans is an homage to all the forgotten folk who endured the “hard life” from as far back as “slavery times.” It is an effort to exhume the trace record of this who toiled, suffered and perished with out notice in the world of the black South. Dial obtained the materials for this piece by walking along the railroad tracks and picking up the debris that had been strewn along its path. Using objects that were literally and metaphorically tossed out along life’s road, he worked to reconstruct the bodies and reclaim the spirits of the many individuals erased from history. Originally painted red, white, and blue, to signal its relevance to the story of the United States, the portrait was later covered over with a deep brown, the color of the soil, from which Dial symbolically sought to redeem the anonymous dead. Contemplating the fate of all those who came before, he variously mused, “You can’t destroy life. God put those people on earth and they’re still here today.” “We ain’t nothing but dirt ourselves.”

More work from this artist

Pages