Among Dial’s musings on the metaphysical is his epic work "The Beginning of Life in the Yellow Jungle" from 2003. Depicting the evolution of biological life, this giant, sumptuous scene is brimming with vegetation—snipped-tin trees, floral fabrics, artificial plants, and an imaginative species of flower made from the sliced-off bottoms of plastic soda bottles. Within the rapturous vision of burgeoning life is a doll figure, nascent humanity, surmounted by a glove, the hand of divinity. The entire landscape is cast in a bright, glowing yellow, Dial’s coding for the coming together of the races.


  • Title: The Beginning of Life in the Yellow Jungle
  • Creator: Thornton Dial
  • Creator Lifespan: 1928/2016
  • Creator Nationality: American
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Death Place: McCalla, Alabama
  • Creator Birth Place: Emelle, Alabama
  • Date Created: 2003
  • Location Created: McCalla, Alabama
  • Physical Dimensions: 75 x 112 x 13 in. (191 x 284.4 x 33 cm)
  • Subject Keywords: African American art, Black art
  • Type: Painting, Assemblage
  • Rights: © Thornton Dial. Photo: Stephen Pitkin, Pitkin Studio
  • External Link: https://www.soulsgrowndeep.org/artist/thornton-dial
  • Medium: Plastic soda bottles, doll, clothing, bedding, wire, found metal, rubber glove, turtle shell, artificial flowers, Splash Zone compound, enamel, and spray paint on canvas on wood

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