One Million Bones is a fundraising art installation designed to recognize the millions of victims killed or displaced by ongoing genocides that is still happening today.
June 8 - 10 their three-day installation event on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. meant to combine education and hands-on art making in a public installation to raise awareness on these ongoing issues.
The organizers collected 1,000,000 handcrafted bones, made by people out of 30 different countries. Each bone was matched by a dollar donation by the Bezos Family Foundation to CARE’s work fighting poverty in Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. But the primary purpose was about symbolism more than fundraising.
The basic idea behind the project was creating a visual movement based on civic engagement and participation.
As an art project though, the purpose is less pointed. Naomi said she hoped it would make passersby stop and think. “It really is about asking the questions: What’s happening? And then: What can we do?”
Most people often don’t act because they don’t feel capable of affecting change, yet through social media, demonstrations and artworks, a very clear message, or better yet, our primal need for freedom, visibly cannot be oppressed: Offer people a compelling, tangible way to make a difference and they will seize it.
Naomi Natale, the founding artist behind the project has received numerous awards, including a TED senior Fellowship, a 2011 Arts and Healing Network award, 2010 Carl Wilkens Fellowship, and the Professional Achievement Award from Richard Stockton College of New Jersey (2009). She speaks internationally on the topic of art and activism.