The Path of Thorns and Roses is a bronze sculpture by Mario Chiodo that resides at the Contraband and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia. This memorial weighs 7,500 pounds and stands at a height of eighteen feet. The Alexandria City Council selected and commissioned the sculpture to stand at the cemetery and commemorate the lives of the African refugees who perished as they attempted to escape slavery in the south. Thousands of African-Americans seeking freedom in the north passed through Alexandria due to it being centrally located on the border of the Confederacy and the Union. Many of these enslaved Africans arrived sick and starving and some of those who died were ultimately interred in this recently discovered burial ground. The Contrabands and Freedmen’s Cemetery now has over 1800 graves with over 40% of them belonging to children.
The sculpture itself has a passionate, spiraling depiction which includes figurative representations of Oppression, Struggle, Sacrifice, Loss, Compassion, and Hope. If you look closely you will see “Oppression” in chains and in mental, physical and spiritual pain; “Sacrifice” mourning over her deceased child while “Compassion” offers her a flower of hope and “Hope”, the highest figure, holding the unbloomed ‘rose of freedom’ as he stands on his tiptoes to avoid the thorns of oppression beneath him.
Below you will find a slide show featuring images from the sculpture.
Please visit the link below to view Limited Edition bronze and stone copies of some of the figures in this amazing sculpture that are currently available for purchase.