As the U.S. grapples with how to intervene in a distant conflict that has claimed the lives of more than 70,000 Syrians, an art installation in the heart of the nation’s capital brings home the realities of mass atrocities and genocide.
Presented by the Art of Revolution, a social advocacy organization, the project One Million Bones drew thousands of volunteers together on Saturday at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Dressed in white, these artists and activists lay down 1 million handcrafted bones as a “visible petition” against the ongoing struggle in Sudan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burma, Somalia, and Syria.
Though the bones are artificial, they attest to the voices, lives, and experiences shaped by genocide that are undeniably human.
“Bones are evidence of a unique, individual journey,” said the Archbishop Desmond Tutu in a video posted on the project’s website. “But they are also the evidence of a collective journey, a story shared in the human experience…It is my hope that these bones will transform us, bringing us to a place of greater understanding and compassion, and inspire us to act.”
One Million Bones can be found at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., through Monday.