Full Sack

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    Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio
Pencil, pastel, and watercolor on paper
30 x 22 inches
Collection of
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco museum purchase American Art Trust Fund and gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation

As an adult, Thornton Dial recalled the corrupt sharecropping system in which landlords advanced his landless parents’ farming supplies, but later cheated them to perpetuate their exploitation: “They kept on farming and didn’t ever come out of debt. The Man advance people from one end of the year to the other end. Every year the Man always say, ‘you just about come out of debt this time but didn’t quite make it.'"

Full Sack depicts a woman laboring to fill her bulging bag with cotton bolls. Linking the cycles of the seasons to the cycles of life, Dial makes a poetic analogy between the Woman’s abundant harvest and her pregnancy. Dial had great respect for women in their dual roles as workers and mothers: “Man do a lot of struggling—that’s true—but without women giving the power and strength of their struggle to Man’s struggle, Man going to lose his struggle. —Timothy Anglin Burgard