Students Raise Awareness of Genocide By Sculpting Clay Bones

Event organizers, left to right: Vy Nguyen ’15 of Amnesty International, Kate Herman ’15 of the Craft Center, and Haley Gewandter ’14 of Bowdoin Artist Activists

Bowdoin Artist Activists, Bowdoin Amnesty International, and the Craft Center joined together on a recent weekend to host a bone-making “party,” one of countless happening all over the world as part of the One Million Bones project.

One Million Bones aims, via public art, to raise awareness of genocides and related atrocities occurring across the globe.

Bowdoin Artist Activists founder Haley Gewandter ’14 is especially passionate about collaborative public art installations with a social “twist” and had wanted to host a bone-making party ever since hearing about the project a few years ago. When Bowdoin Amnesty International approached her about the idea, she immediately signed on.

Gewandter organized the event alongside Kate Herman ’15 of Amnesty International and Vy Nguyen ’15 of the Craft Center. Members of the three groups set up tables in Smith Union, providing students and other passersby with balls of clay from which to sculpt bones. “During the parties everyone comes and make bones out of whatever materials they have available — be it clay, paper mache, what have you,” Gewandter explained.

Herman put together a presentation detailing the project and the facts of genocides worldwide, which Amnesty International screened up on the Union in tandem with a video from the One Million Bones project.

The groups will ship its 57 bones, once fired, to the Maine branch of the project, which will truck the bones to Washington, D.C. to be displayed en masse on the National Mall June 8–10, 2013.

Gewandter explained that the project had done a mock assembly of the installation and recalled being greatly affected by it. She anticipates the full installation will make a powerful statement.

Story and photos by Melissa Wiley ’13

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