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Describe how the image, Family Sculpture by John Searles, depicts the idea of...

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wanderista | Student, Grade 11 | Valedictorian

Posted October 12, 2013 at 9:29 AM via web

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Describe how the image, Family Sculpture by John Searles, depicts the idea of belonging, or not belonging, to a family.

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durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 12, 2013 at 11:30 AM (Answer #1)

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There are many possible interpretations of John Searles', Family Sculpture.

  1. There is a familiar structure as there are four separate images with the biggest two being in the middle - possibly representative of a traditional family of two parents and two children.
  2. Continuing with the traditional image, the colors could represent a boy next to his mother and a girl next to her father. The green figure is the biggest so the suggestion of a more dominant father-figure emerges.
  3. Note also how the green figure is the only really upright figure and all the others are leaning towards it - indicating a strong father-figure
  4. Interestingly, considering the colors from another angle, it could also be interpreted to represent a less-than-traditional family unit as the colors are quite diverse allowing them to represent any gender but still a two-parent family, and still with one dominant adult.
  5. Consider the unity expressed in the overall image as each figure overlaps the next. However, the different and strong colors ensure that individuality remains strong and does not need to be compromised in a secure family environment.  
  6. The fact that the images are faceless also supports the concept of a strong family unit as they exist together, suggesting a strong family bond.
  7. However, being faceless can also suggest that something is missing and there is a lack of identity.
  8. In addition, that the figures are bound and bent outwards, away from contact, strongly suggests not belonging; it rather suggests they are enduring.

Whichever way it is interpreted, it is indicative of John Searles' use of the abstract which allows for personal interpretation. 

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