How The Visual Arts Communicate
Jennifer Linnell
ARTS 100
November 30, 2015
Shay Tyler

How The Visual Arts Communicate
The Raft of the Medusa, painted by Theodore Gericault is a 23-foot-long by 16-foot-high oil on canvas and portrays the terrible conditions on a raft that was occupied by stranded passengers of the ship Medusa. The painting has been best described as gloomy because the colors fluctuate between dark and light but still maintain an overcast. Gericault uses his art to make a powerful statement against the French government. The painting displays the problem of inequality during that time. The painting also despises racial inequality. Gericault challenged government leadership by including Black men in his painting, having one man waving the flag to the rescuing ship because, at the time, France was profiting from the illegal slave trade. This was a bold statement against slavery and a reminder that a leader\'s crudeness can claim victims of any skin color.
 This painting did what modern day journalist aim to do; expose corruption, find facts, and tell the story to expose the truth to many people. Gericault did not paint without a sense of direction; he researched the facts, studied his subjects, and created not only a work of art but a declaration of truth. Society responds to tragedies with a demand for justice, such as 911 and the mass shootings; Gericault responded in a similar manner. His painting compares to the camera phones that are being used to capture unjust acts. Gericault was able to represent a violation of human rights that led to the death of many innocent people. Human rights advocates now carry out the same mission, having the same purpose; to expose those individuals who cause terrible acts.
Maya Lin\'s design is a wall that is V-shaped and made of black granite that lists the names of the almost 60,000 servicemen and women who died in the Vietnam War. The wall is positioned so that it appears to be sinking into the ground. The artwork was the first installment of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Lin\'s design was not without controversy; many veterans associated the dark color of the stone with death and destruction, and felt positioning the Memorial beneath the ground was disrespectful to the memories of those who died. Lin argued that the artwork was created to provide a peaceful place where families and friends could mourn the lives that were lost. She wanted to portray a violent act of war that took the lives of millions, by having the opening of the earth around the wall. As the earth closed around the wall, it symbolized the healing process for the people who come to view it and for the ground surrounding the memorial. The earth would close, just as wounds close, but the incision that was initially made to support the wall would remain, symbolized by the long, flat surface of the wall (Sanders & Mock, 1995).
 The war lacked the support of many Americans who held the opinion that the war fought between the North and South Vietnamese should be resolved without outside interference (Gallagher, 2010). There was also a negative reaction to the military draft that seemed to target young, socially disadvantaged populations. When the Vietnam Veterans arrived from war, they found themselves targets instead of heroes.

Gallagher, E. J. (2010). The vietnam wall controversy. Lehigh University Digital Library. History on Trial. Retrieved from:
Sanders, T. & Mock, F. L. (1995). Maya lin: A strong clearvision. Video documentary: American Film Foundation.