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The American People Series #20: Die.

The American People Series, created by Faith Ringgold in 1967, represents the high anti-war spirits, inspired by Pablo Picasso's Guernica. Next to the image of Die below is Guernica, to display the similarities. Both use extensive chaos in a long horizontal canvas to highlight the damage and craze that jumps at the viewer.


The aspects that jump in Die in comparison to Guernica are the blood splatters, colors, and expressions on their faces along with their brutal inhumane actions. In Guernica, however, the main aspects that appeal to the readers are the animal faces on human-like bodies. This parody is especially effective in highlighting the atrocities of their time.

The social aspect of Die addresses the Black Americans who began rebellions in order to protest the status quo. However, instead of how the past news interpreted the rebellions, this artwork shows both white and black violence towards each other instead of one-sided violence (blacks against whites). It displays how both discrimination and resentment from both parties built up towards violent rebellions and displays both children of the races and mothers in agony. This cautious representation raises the point of both sides of the aggression, which was not covered in news representations at the time.

The major aspects that are controversial in Die are the white-on-white aggression and the animosity between the white and black men and children. It provided a new perspective not shown due to the amount of anger towards the black population at the time, and inspired many other movements.

This piece of social art is one of my favorites because it is a spin-off of Picasso's work while also addressing a modern issue. Its bursts of colors in comparison to the white-and-black individuals display the differences between the two races- the placements of the people, the chosen colors, and the expressions were all carefully chosen to represent something on their own. It displayed kindness between the races, but it also contrasted it with the violence shown. However, the only explicit violence displayed (with a gun) is white on white, which I theorize symbolizes the harm that white people create on themselves while simultaneously blaming the black population for it to promote white supremacy. In the end however, only both races are hurt from the clear divide.

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