How Can We Convey Mass Killings?

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Last weekend, volunteers laid handmade replicas of 1,018,260 human bones across the National Mall:

The visually impactful piece features one million bone-shaped structures that are made out of clay, plaster, paper, and other sculpting materials as a symbolic mass grave, referencing the lives that have been lost at the hand of violent atrocities. The project, led by artist Naomi Natale, is a collaborative effort amongst artists, activists, and students from around the globe. Thousands of volunteers have made it possible and the project proudly states that “over 250,000 people in all 50 states and the District of Colombia as well as over 30 countries have participated.”

From a recent interview with the artist:

[W]e’ve gotten a lot of pushback because it’s ultimately pretty out there to have kids making bones to address such an intense issue. But when we were able to explain the project to educators, walk them through it, and talk them through how these bones are ultimately about why we should take care of each other, they were able to embrace it. It’s very provocative, having a lot of children ultimately creating a mass grave on the National Mall. But it sends a message that’s much higher than that.

(Photo: Fred Dunn / Flickr)