Slaves

 

History, imparted via public radio, public television, and public libraries, consumed Young who connected episodes of the past to events in the present. For him, the history of slavery was not history–images and narratives involving slaves and the brutality they endured surfaced in his conversation and his art. In the above painting, three slaves are turned away from the viewer while one faces front, mouth open, either speaking or singing; all are shackled around their necks. To the right are unshackled figures with their arms raised, in protest or prayer. In other paintings, rows of legs with shackled ankles fill entire compositions. In one of these, the legs are above a sea with birds in the distance.

 

All works Untitled and ca. 1980-1999

 

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