Art and Advocacy: One Million Bones on the National Mall

On June 8, One Million Bones reached the National Mall in Washington, D.C. On this day, thousands gathered in white on the National Mall to create a striking, “visible petition” against the atrocities taking place in Sudan, South Sudan, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Burma and Somalia.

One Million Bones is a large-scale social arts practice combining education, hands-on art making and advocacy founded by artist Naomi Natale. Naomi Natale and Susan McAllister, Project Manager are the co-creaters of The Art of Revolution.

Bone was a metaphor to the millions of lives lost to genocide and the event means to educate and inspire action. One Million Bones brought together thousands of volunteers from across the Nation whose handcrafted bones helped create a striking, visual petition on the National Mall.

The road to Washington, D.C. began on August 27, 2011, in a preview installation of 50,000 bones off of Route 66 in Albuquerque, N.M. Project momentum continued on April 2, 2012, when in conjunction with a global day of action, 35 volunteers groups from Tallahassee to Springfield, Cheyenne to Santa Fe organized The Road to Washington and hosted events during a global day of action.

 

Three years in the making by more than 100,000 people and in 30 countries participated. Each handmade bone created by a student was matched by a dollar donation by the Bezos Family Foundation to CARE’s work fighting poverty in Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Supporters also purchased bio-degradable bones for $5. The bones were placed in their honor on the National Mall.

One Million Bones culminated in a large scale, site-specific installation on the National Mall combined with featured guest speakers, live concerts and advocacy meetings on Capitol Hill. On Monday, July 10, the bones were removed and collected by more than 200 volunteers to participate in “Take a Bone to Congress” and met with representatives for advocacy meetings on Capitol Hill.

One Million Bones is a project of The Art of Revolution, an organization dedicated to leveraging the power of art to inspire activism. “We believe that art is such an incredible tool with which to engage and mobilize communities around a specific social justice issue. It offers tangible a way for people to connect to things that are not presented to them daily.”