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Permanent link for Artists Responding to Crisis: George Vihos on June 9, 2020

Student Perspective provided by:
Megan Daniels
Major: Studio Art
Minor: Public & Nonprofit Administration
Class of 2023

Tribute To Oklahoma City Children
George Vihos
Oil Crayons and Photo Imaging on Canvas
2002
2010.90.1

"The thick black lines and white parrot silhouettes that pull your eye toward the center of the composition are what first drew me to George Viho’s mixed media drawing. I didn't know the historical importance of the subject matter until I read the title; 'Tribute to Oklahoma City Children.' After reading the title, my perspective and understanding of the work changed. Vihos’s reaction to the tragedy that took place on April 19th, 1995 is expressed in an abstract realist style that includes collaged images of the Alfred P. Murrah Building after the bomb was detonated and small faceless figures with outstretched arms. These images combined with Viho’s use of desaturated dark colors and surrounding red halo-like glow remind me of wounds and bloodshed, providing me with a heightened emotional understanding of and reaction to the Oklahoma City Bombing. 19 children who were in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building’s daycare center lost their lives that day. Vihos pays tribute to each child by including 19 white parrot silhouettes, with a subtle red outline. These parrots possibly symbolize angels or suggest the innocence and fragility of children. The background and thick black lines remind me of a city grid, and reach outward in all directions just like the damage caused by the bomb, which extended to more than 300 surrounding buildings. Having a creative outlet in times of crisis or tragedy can be an effective way to cope and share different human responses to life changing events. Tragedy is intertwined with the arts and can help both artists and viewers cope with and understand the impact of tragedy, just as this artwork did for me." Megan Daniels

You can see more artwork by George Vihos by visiting the GVSU Online Art Collection.



Page last modified June 9, 2020