Charles White "The Wanted Poster Series #17" Painting Response

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Charles White Paintings Response Essay

In Charles White’s “Harriet” and “The Wanted Poster Series #17”, each of the two paintings hold a specific significance to it. They both represent the important idea of freedom for the miserable African American slaves amongst the cruel society of the whites. For this reason, I feel that the two paintings have a particular connection as if one would lead to the other. In the painting “The Wanted Poster Series #17”, each feature in the art piece represents an important factor of slavery. It first includes an African American mother with her poor child getting sold off as slaves. The background shows a picture of the American flag and a bird which would both represent as freedom. Therefore, not only are they themselves getting sold, but in that moment, their freedom, future, and only hope in happiness is forever perished and gone. However, as unfortunate as this already is, I feel that the busy background that distracts everything from the two slaves, makes it look as if they are unimportant and worthless. Furthermore, the color scheming the artist uses is what sets a very depressing and negative atmosphere and overall, shows how hopeless and dejected their future will come to be. In the next painting called “Harriet”, I feel that this could be used as a continuation of “The Wanted Poster Series #17”. The various aspects that are included show a very dull yet hopeful impression of the painting. To me, it seems that her facial expression shows a kind of emotion that there is still hope, along with the way that she is facing towards another direction, which shows that she might be looking at a guide that could lead her into freedom. However, I feel that the blood above the woman would represent as a burden of living the miserable life of an African American and it is what hinders her to reach for the freedom she is running after. The two paintings both show the important aspects in the dark and dreary lives of the African...
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