For my final project I decided to incorporate all aspects of HGS that we learned within our class discussions. Instead of doing one specific genocide or encounter that happened within history I decided to combine all of the genocides that we talked about to memorialize and summarize all of the material that we covered throughout the semester. Combining all aspects of HGS that we learned was equally as important to me because no matter how widely recognized different genocides were there are people who still deserve to be memorialized and recognized for the actions that took place during these periods of time. It was important that I drew my memorial because images help show specific visions that videos or PowerPoints cannot always convey. It was a challenge to draw this memorial since I am not artistically gifted, but it was interesting to see what came about when I put my ideas onto pen and paper.

The Background:

The beginning of the memorial has a dull and dark background because it is trying to convey the ominous presence that surrounded the genocides that occurred during these time periods. I chose the color of a dull grayish-blue to try to showcase this depressing setting. I specifically wanted to go with a dark grey but had to choose the blue-ish gray so that the rock and background would not clash together in this memorial, keeping an artistic sense in mind. The background is supposed to remind the viewer that even though art is meant to be appreciated there is a deeper meaning behind everything that is going on in the picture.


The Rock:

I decided to draw a rock/mountain type structure to symbolize the struggles and hardships that these people faced during these genocides. For example, if you specifically looked at one genocide such as the Holocaust, the rock could symbolize this event as a whole in which the Jews had to undergo struggles and horrific events to get through this time period. A rock is similar to this because it is rough and can be built up with rough edges. It is also a struggle to climb rocks so I felt like having the rock as the centerfold for people to climb up in the painting is extremely accurate. The rock is a reminder of the struggles that these people faced and that the journey to get through it was not an easy one but a major hardship in itself.


The Butterflies:

The butterflies are supposed to symbolize the meaning of hope and freedom. It was a challenge to figure out a symbol of hope but after much research I realized that butterflies are symbols of freedom because they can choose to fly anywhere. Butterflies are able to spread their wings and travel to places far beyond where they are now. This is hopeful in my memorial because it shows the freedom and ability to flee that these people so longed for throughout these genocides. The people are reaching out towards the butterflies because they wish to obtain this sense of hope of freedom.


The People:

 The people I incorporated into this painting were the people affected by these genocides. I chose to showcase them as faceless and colorless because they symbolize everyone as a whole that went through these journeys. I chose to position the people in the action of climbing up this rock because they are searching for the freedom and hope that they desire throughout this horrific time period. They are all together at or near the bottom because I wanted to symbolize the unity these groups had to undergo to get through these times. Working together and finding hope in the small things was vital and important to these people if they wished to live.


Incorporating All Aspects as a Whole:

As a whole the painting is supposed to symbolize the struggles that the people throughout these genocides faced. Combining all aspects of the topics within the drawing we discussed above, the painting is conveying people who are struggling through these times in an effort to reach the freedom and hope that they long for at the end of the journey. The people are climbing up the rock in an effort to find some shred of hope to help motivate them through this hard time. I believe that by incorporating all aspects of this throughout the painting is important in making a memorial because it should have a deeper meaning besides what is just shown on paper.


Design and Structure:

The design and structure of this memorial would be in painting form. Since it is a painting and not a structure it could be placed within a museum or put up somewhere where people could walk by and observe the memorial. Even though it is a painting it could be converted into a structure because aspects of it could be made into a dedication for people to see. The rock would be easy to construct into a sculpture along with the people climbing up it and the butterflies coming out of the top. I would choose an architect who is highly involved in genocide and HGS awareness to construct this memorial for all to see.


Ethical/Cultural/Historical/Social Questions Considered:

Some questions to be considered when looking at this memorial would be:

  • How did this happen?
  • What hardships did these people face during this time period?
  • What can we learn from this as individuals within our own society?
  • How can we prevent this from ever happening again?
  • What is the deeper meaning behind this memorial?
  • What were some forms of hope these people sought after to get through this period of time?
  • What is the message of this memorial?



In conclusion my memorial incorporates all aspects of HGS that we learned throughout the semester as a class. The intended audience for my project would be anyone who is passing by and would see this memorial. I decided to not go with an intended group because this design is important in reminding us all of what could happen if we let our biases and prejudices get the best of us. If I chose to target a certain group I would be limiting my memorial to only a small group of people who would experience it. Including everyone is important because it will all impact us in some way. It is important because it is a reminder that this really did happen, and that we must stand together to prevent genocides from continuing to happen within our own society. This memorial is important because it reminds us that we are the change that the world needs in order to prevent anything as terrible as this from happening again.


Brooke Ripley, a resident of Baltimore, Maryland is currently a senior Sports Management major at Old Dominion University. Along with her academic interests, Brooke is a member of the varsity rowing team and has received honors such as All Big 12 Academic Team and Commissioner’s Honor Roll for Conference USA. Brooke is passionate about sports and intends to acquire a masters in Sports Management after graduation from her undergraduate career. She hopes to someday pursue a career as a collegiate rowing coach in the sports industry.