Mary Kate Kelly

I chose the ad that regards the slave who was thought to have run away by staging his death by drowning in the river for many reasons. It first conveyed to me the sense of clever wit on behalf of the runaway. If he did in fact runaway, I thought his tactics admirable because they were a clear contradiction of the commonly thought notion of the time period that slaves were not smart. It also depicts the desperation that the slave must have felt. To go through such lengths to leave was a sad truth of that time. Lastly, and most importantly, this particular ad made me wonder about the actual fate of the individual. If he truly had drowned, his death went completely uncared for. The disregard for humanity was so prevailing, and this fact really moved me.

The most obvious bias of the ad was the blatant fact that the slave owner showed no concession by even acknowledging the fact that this man actually could have drowned. His shear ignorance is what I abhorred about the ad.

I created my piece with all these components taken into account. I wanted to show a multi-dimensional view of the incident that also expressed a greater standpoint—that being African American oppression. I chose to use nothing other than a number two pencil and an eraser on plain, 70 lb paper. I felt that this medium was simple and raw, and appropriate in uncovering the truths of the complicated era. I used a reference of a famous bronze sculpture, Man Crouching by Kevin Petelle, for I found the muscularity of the figure helpful to show the strength the race had to bestow.

The meaning of the piece is that of fear, bravery, humiliation, and ignorance. In one way, the slave has run but is living with the constant strain of being caught. He is left with no clothing; naked to society's extremes—but this is a price he is willing to pay. The complete blindness that the owner holds is also depicted. The slave is right beneath him, but his foolish dedication to a single faceted view causes him to not see the truth. Lastly, it touches on the idea of lives lost. If he did die, like many others like him, his voice went unnoticed. The slave is embedded into the history of that land, and lowers his head with the weight of the tragedy his race carries. All of these aspects are what my work is meant to convey.

2006 Artwork

Caroline Torres (1)
Allyza Lustig (2)
Olivia Horvath (3)
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Cassie Cartaginese (H)
Adam DePaolo (H)
Stephanie Lawton (H)
Sisi Li (H)
Carolyne Vanegas (H)
Megan Wachs (H)
Jasmine Whiting (H)
Noah Woodley-Aitchison (H)
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Max Caulfield
Andrew Chase
Ben Chehebar
Nick Conte
Sophie Hall
Elana Hoffman
Mary Kate Kelly
Tina Liu
Ashlie Perry
Caroline Pietsch
Kara Rothschild
Diane Saraiva
Hannah Sindorf
Yuriko Takano