Benny Andrews worked for over fifty years as an artist, educator, activist, and illustrator. Using his stylistic technique of “rough collage,” Andrews’ figural and expressionistic art combines allegories and genres to tell personal and historical stories. In War Study #5, part of his larger series of work titled The Bicentennial Series which confronts the lack of Black history within the bicentennial celebration of American history, a woman stands alone in a desolate landscape while fragments of naked bodies and limbs surround colorful forms of vegetation.
The central woman represents those left behind while their loved ones go to war but the disjointed, abstract forms of naked and uniformed bodies symbolize the “fruits of war:” bodies of those who died in horrific sacrifice, leaving women, mothers, and children at home alone to mourn.
Title: War Study #5
Artist: Benny Andrews (1930 - 2006)
Medium: oil on canvas, collage
Dimensions: Image: Proper right canvas, 40 x 26 inches; Proper left canvas, 40 x 27 inches; Total image dimensions: 40 x 53 inches; Framed: 41 x 54 inches
Accession Number: H77.1
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