Marty Chavez Eric Griego

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Friday, August 26, 2011

8/27: Preview in Downtown Albuquerque of 'One Million Bones' - Evoking Atrocities Abroad

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Genocides in Africa, child soldiers and political torture in Burma. For millions, such violence and turmoil endure, even today. But an ambitious social art project aims to visualize such tragedies for Americans with the goal of provocation.

One Million Bones brings together people of all ages with artists and activists to create clay bones symbolic of our common humanity, each representing one person’s awareness of recent and ongoing human atrocities, and his or her voice calling for action.

“We can only ignore the silent plight of millions if we continue pretending it’s not our problem or we can’t do anything about it,” said founder Naomi Natale. “One Million Bones provides a direct action that replaces ignorance with knowledge and hopelessness with a sense of purpose. It speaks to our common humanity, and our responsibility to each other.

In 2013, the bones collected from participants around the U.S. will be assembled in a ‘mass grave’ on the National Mall in Washington, DC, a collaborative site of conscience demanding decisive U.S. action.

But on August 27, 2011, One Million Bones will present a 50,000 Bones Preview installation at its headquarters in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Preview will feature a choreographed performance laying 50,000 clay bones in the streets of Downtown Albuquerque, as well as national speakers. It will take place at 10:00 AM at the intersection of Central and 4th Street in downtown Albuquerque.

Imagine a busy city block bustling with people. From an alley silent, white-clad volunteers appear carrying armfuls of white handmade ceramic bones. They lay the bones in the center of the street and disappear, even as another volunteer appears carrying more bones. Over the course of the day the pile expands outward to fill the entire block. Imagine the sight of 50,000 bones laid bare for the world to see. Imagine the power of that vision.

In Sudan, over the course of their twenty-two year civil war, two million people have been killed and 5.6 million displaced. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, there have been 5.4 million deaths since 1996 and 900,000 people displaced since January 2009. Children make up 47 percent of the fatalities. Rape is a weapon of war, and has become commonplace. In Burma, there are currently 2,200 political prisoners who are being tortured using brutal methods. The Burmese army recruits children as young as nine years old for their forces.

“There continues to be so much devastation in Sudan, Congo and Burma, and yet there have been a few hopeful signs,” said Susan McAllister, Project Manager. “Even the smallest glimmer for the possibility of change requires a redoubling of efforts to support activists who address these and other atrocities. One Million Bones brings the voices of thousands to bear in support of this vital work.”

To learn more or get involved, please visit

August 26, 2011 at 05:45 PM in Arts, Events, Genocide, Human Rights, Poverty | Permalink


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