The Movie Star and the Tiger Need One Another

Media - 2016.38.25 - SAAM-2016.38.25_2 - 142962
Copied Thornton Dial, Sr., The Movie Star and the Tiger Need One Another, March 1992, charcoal, graphite, and watercolor on paper, Smithsonian American Art Museum, The Margaret Z. Robson Collection, Gift of John E. and Douglas O. Robson, 2016.38.25

Artwork Details

Title
The Movie Star and the Tiger Need One Another
Date
March 1992
Dimensions
sheet and image: 22 12 in. × 30 in. (57.2 × 76.2 cm)
Credit Line
The Margaret Z. Robson Collection, Gift of John E. and Douglas O. Robson
Mediums Description
charcoal, graphite, and watercolor on paper
Classifications
Keywords
  • Animal — bird
  • Performing arts — theater — performer
  • Figure female — nude
  • Animal — tiger
Object Number
2016.38.25

Artwork Description

The tiger became Dial’s trademark symbol for African Americans—fierce, nimble, and regal but also feared, maligned, and hunted. Their jungle environment was a metaphor for America, a place as bountiful and beautiful as it was treacherous. Here Dial considers the power of relationships and unlikely alliances. He contrasts the social power and privilege of celebrity with the instincts and ferocity of the tiger, suggesting that each has unique strengths, and that teamwork is the ultimate tool for survival.
(We Are Made of Stories: Self-Taught Artists in the Robson Family Collection, 2022)