Statues

There seems to be a rash of people wishing to remove or destroy statues , mainly of historical figures who once were greatly revered but not so much now. Most recently in the USA but a few are under review in UK and I think Captain Cook is in danger in Australia.

Have been in the art world a long time I can tell you there is nothing apart from installations that inflame opinion more than  sculpture. Painting can gather criticism but that extra dimension of sculpture cannot it seems be ignored.

However the fury  of critique centred on these historical sculptures has nothing to do with their artistic worth. Their historic iconography is being rejected, they are perceived as symbolic  of great injustice to some group that feel the sculpture is celebrating that injustice and suffering, I think they are wrong. Firstly, how ever much we might like to, we cannot rewrite history. History is where the truth is, what happened happened and distance allows us see the whole picture. We should remember everything that was done, good and bad in the hope we learn from it. Better that we should look at a statue of some ,leader once venerated but now questioned, we should know what they did and how they did it. We need to study these figures with our 21st century sensibilities  and judge them, work out better ways to do things. I feel the statue topplers are misguided, we don't want to forget these people we really need to remember and make sure their methods  and some of their beliefs are  not repeated.

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Comments

    1. Ms. K.

      These extremists are frightening. I just read that a theater cancelled their “Gone With the Wind” showing because people were calling and saying it promoted white supremacy.
      Ok, does this remind anyone else of McCarthy’s witch hunt in the 60’s? Are they going to start banning books they don’t approve of?
      Scary.

      1. Rockflower Post author

        Watching Gone with the Wind and seeing how racisms was once enshrined in law and how it was administered can only emphasis the stupidity and how wrong it was. We have to face everything in our history , especially the unpleasant things, so we do not repeat the wrongs. You do not redress wrongs and injustice by hiding them, you cleanse and heal by shining a bright light on them. We have to know that there were people who thought they were doing right and were lauded for it, later were proved wrong. We know evil greedy people cause misery and havoc. We also need to keep in mind that well meaning people often do harm. I agree with you, people who wish to rewrite history by banning books, films and art are very scary.

        1. LoneRogue

          What is next? To find a way to erase our memories? Personally I feel it really has little to do with the subject statues and everything to do with causing political strife.

    2. len1932

      I lived in Athens Greece for four years and it is a land of statues and monuments of all kinds, The Greeks do not destroy their history told in statues.
      What they do to take notice is throw plates and smash them on the floor.

  1. jessamyne

    Art is priceless, and should never be destroyed. But expectations of appreciation of statues (as well as other memorials) of people who gained notoriety by trampling on the liberty of others is unconconscionable, and these people should never be glorified by such dubious accomplishments.

    And, if people need to look at a statue to learn the difference between right and wrong, we might as well go back to the caves

    1. Rockflower Post author

      Wonderful art is quite often produced by rather nasty people, does that make the art not fit to watch or read? A very big question Jessamyne. There are many books that I would find unpleasant to read, exploring areas and situations where I don’t want to go. Many films I may find too harrowing to watch or films examining human behavior I’d find too explicit or vulgar for my taste. Would I ban these things for adults to watch? No. I think you could have a notice with a reliable short bio’ the historical view and the contrary views on the the worth of the person depicted. That would be good but don’t remove history, that is a slippery slope.

      1. jessamyne

        I abhor censorship. What adults choose to do or view is up to their discretion. I, for one, cheered when the Berlin Wall came down, and the statue of Stalin was destroyed. Human rights should come before anything else, even freedom of expression when it is damaging to nature, and curtails freedom. Cause no harm.

        It doesn’t appear to me that people have learned much having to face grim reminders of tyranny….

  2. Drummer

    I fear for Statues – with the intolerance being shown by certain sectors of society – surely their are a recognition of achievement and as such should be honored.

  3. len1932

    When I have visited all the Civil War battle areas with their statues I was always impressed with our history that they helped make. When i see the statues of our presidents in DC I may not have agreed with all of their administrations but they were our presidents. From our past we have become what we as a nation are today for the better we hope.

    1. Rockflower Post author

      True Len….everything that happens to us and everything that happens to our countries are experiences that shape person and nation, good and bad.We don’t have to agree with it all, that is the privilege of living in a free society.

  4. 5mintbreak

    Is the latest trend of destroying statues across different countries, the result of ‘modern’ technology our phones, the media, twitter etc., the copy cat mentality. A lot of it just sheer wanton destruction, people with chips on their shoulders and no respect for anyone or thing. Sadly we seem to stand by and let this go on.

  5. rose1943

    I fear for the children of today who are watching all of this and seeing it turn into terribly strong protests where people are killed and starting another war within our country. What are we teaching them?

  6. roseinbloom

    Statues occupy public space and all of us should be represented. I don’t see any statues of women except for the Statue of Liberty which was given to the USA by France. I remember as a child that I was glad to see a female form represented. Women are not represented fairly nor are other minorities. I also would prefer national heroes instead of statues of men who fought to rip our country apart. Maybe we could do a statue of “Woman thinking” or something like that. I, also, don’t like censorship, so why have women and blacks, and Native Americans been censored out of the statues that a are displayed. In Kentucy, my state, we recently got a statue of Abraham Lincoln. I say it is way late.

    1. Rockflower Post author

      Hey Roseinbloom….I do hear you, women’s accomplishments in all fields under recognized over the centuries on the whole. Royals even female ones have a share of statue space. A few female saints and the Virgin Mary are represented. Then there are Elizabeth Fry and Florence Nightingale. Few literary Ladies but you have to go to the last century before you find some scientific ones. Where female statues are well if not more represented……the female nude! most often in the guise of some goddess or other. Aristocratic gardens all seem to have a nude goddess or two posing in the shrubbery. In fact I would guess that for every nude male lurking on a pedestal there must be about three nude women.The one area where women outnumber the guys. Probably there are more female statues in Europe but not equal numbers that is for sure. I like sculpture and should like to see more of it about. If the sculpture is supposed to be of a person, I do think it is obliged to look like that person.

  7. roseinbloom

    Rockflower, very interesting, Which country are you in? I think you may be in Australia. You seem to have more women than we do in the USA. The political issue here is over People that fought for slavery and furthered slavery in other ways. Slavery was a sad and horrible situation and does not need to be honored in any way shape or form anywhere.

  8. l1k3s2l4ff

    I very much agree. If you remove statues because you don’t agree with what they stand for that part of history can be lost. Better to put an explanation near it saying who they are and what they did rather than destroy the statue. You can’t change history just by removing statues, better to explain the history.

    1. Rockflower Post author

      I totally agree LIK3….. We can’t change the past and we must learn from it. That means we must remember the bad things as well as the good things. In fact we probably should make more effort to remember those bad things. Slavery is possibly as old as the human race. No one can defend it, it is terrible but we must remember perfectly “normal” humans convinced themselves they could live with slavery and remember the arguments they put up to justify the practise. Not to honour them but to make sure it does not happen again.

    2. roseinbloom

      History is being written every day and history is being rewritten every day, and what is in PUBLIC places should not be offensive to any group. What is put in private spaces is a different matter.