January 20, 2009

Thornton Dial American

Not on view

Featuring a procession of figures and animal-like forms (including a flag-waving turtle), this drawing commemorates the inauguration of President Barack Obama. A striped creature with claws occupies the lower-left corner and stretches into the center of the composition. Its markings identify it as a tiger, an animal Dial adopted in his art as a recurring symbol of various underrepresented groups’ struggles for survival and social justice. The artist’s initials appear near a man’s face with a mustache, suggesting a self-portrait and his imaginary presence at this celebration.

January 20, 2009, Thornton Dial (American, Emelle, Alabama 1928–2016 McCalla, Alabama), Graphite, pastel, and coffee on paper

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