The Growing Criticism of Public Sculptures
As a result of George Floyd’s wrongful death at the hands of a white police officer, there has been an outburst of protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. In this fight for equality, various forms of art are also inspired and affected. Many statues and sculptures have been defaced or taken down recently because of their racist beliefs and actions.
Most of the pieces have been standing for years, but they perpetuate and normalize racist idea. For example, protesters took down a statue of Edward Colston, an English merchant who was involved with slave trade. After defacing the sculpture, it was then dumped in the Bristol Harbour. Furthermore, in London, a sculpture of Robert Mulligan, a slave owner, was covered by activists and hung with a sign stating “Black Lives Matter”.
Colston and Mulligan are not the only example of these the country's terrible past. In Boston, a statue of Christopher Columbus was decapitated. In Birmingham, Alabama a statue of the Confederate Navy Captain Charles Linn was taken down, along with another monument in the same park.
This way of protesting supports very important social issues that should have been talked about a long time ago. It brings up challenging discussions about why such statues were allowed to remain in place for so long.
However, these statues are not simply being brought down by exclusively protestors. Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of The House of Representatives, announced the removal of eleven statues of Confederate leaders, in an a motion of governmental support.
Public sculptures across the United States are being vandalized because they are representative of racial inequality. Despite that, people still have opposing views. Some are not in support of these actions, condemning those who participate because they don’t feel that it adds to the cause. On the other hand, activists feel that leaving them up can opposes the goal of the Black Lives Matter movement and support destroying the statues.
These statues serve as a huge reminder of how effective and powerful art can be and how moving a piece of art can be.