Object of the Week: Disaster Print
Many screen prints explore the beauty of flora, entice us to see elegant forms of wildlife, and represent common objects in delightful ways. This piece skillfully uses texture and color to relate the violence of an earthquake that hit Ghana on June 22, 1939. This 20-30 second quake registered 6.5 on the Richter scale and could be felt by people living up to 750,000 km away. The flat areas of color in the clenched fist, lightning bolts, and snapping palm trees highlight the aggression of natural disasters against a backdrop of finely detailed building structures.
Many cultures around the world hold belief in something akin to the evil eye, whereby bad things are brought on by the malevolent glares of powerful beings. The blatant use of symbolism in this print indicates a culture that recognizes the diminutive nature of mankind. The building depicted on the bottom of the print is the colonial-era General Post Office of Ghana, which still stands today as a post office and bank. The time on the clock tower reads 7:20, the exact time the earthquake struck.