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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Galleries >> Gallery Twenty Eight: Using symbols and metaphors to express meaning > At the wall, Arizona Science Center, Phoenix, Arizona, 2008
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At the wall, Arizona Science Center, Phoenix, Arizona, 2008

The small figure of the child clings to the towering wall of a massive museum. The wall symbolically represents the world as a child might see it: overwhelming, unyielding, and intimidating. Yet the young boy seems to test that world by throwing his weight against the wall, just as he may someday deal with the challenges of life itself. Meanwhile another child plays at the fountain in the center of the courtyard. He also seems to be symbolically testing the world as he sees it, and in his own way. Even the bright red container on the ground by an entry door plays a symbolic role here – it links the building’s doorway to the child in red, functioning as a territorial marker. It also creates a triangle linking both children to each other and to the entrance to the building.

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Phil Douglis04-May-2008 20:12
Thanks, Tim, for comparing this shot to my image of child standing with crossed "swords" over the bodies of his own family ( ) The beggar child symbolizes hope by seemingly freeing himself from the future, while this child may at first seem overwhelmed by his world, yet is still willing to test it. Both images, as you note, are about the limitations a culture places on its young.
Tim May04-May-2008 18:59
I think of your image of the beggar child with the crossed swords image - in his culture he seems to be challenging the world he's in. Here is a symbolic representation of the world our children are growing in. And, again, you are showing the challenge being hemmed in by your culture.
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