In my garden, for as long as I can remember sat this statue. I just loved it for many reasons. One day, as I walked by I noticed it was broken. In all honesty, I was pretty upset. Upset it was broken. Upset no one fessed up to breaking it.
We can become attached to statues for many reasons. They can represent memories, serve as reminders of history. They can inspire, give us pause to mourn. Some are admired for the craftsmanship, others for their simple beauty.
Right now our country sits in a debate about certain statues. Some want them removed because they represent a stained time in our history. Others want them to remain because they hold the person in high esteem. Some can only see one aspect of that person’s life, whereas others try to point out that there was so much more to that person.
As an artist myself, I would hate to see my work destroyed (I know what I put into it) but I also wouldn’t want my work to inflict pain upon others. As a lover of history, I know that we cannot just erase history. Removing anything doesn’t take away that emotions associated with that time frame. As someone who is compassionate, I also don’t think it necessarily needs to smack us in the face every time we head to public areas.
What I see is a country divided on the subject. I wonder, though, have we dug our heels down so deeply on one side or the other… that we are incapable of seeing that there are other options.
Perhaps it is time for these statutes to find a new home.
What if we could find museums or parks that are associated with other aspects of that person’s life? Areas of success that were beneficial to the public? Could we not move the statues to those grounds?
Could we not find a place at a historical museum, or statue garden, to rehome these statues of historical figures where we place them in the timeline of history?
I’m sure that some of you see no need to move them at all. Here is the thing, when a statue no longer honors the person it is meant to honor but instead embodies and ideology… the piece is tainted, stained.
In my city, a horrible crime happened a few years ago. In order to keep people from exploiting the home in which the crime occurred, they tore the home down. A vacant lot sits awaiting someone to put something new there. You see, that home no longer was a memory of the people who lived there (who were good people, loved people). Instead it embodied the crime, a place for people to drive by for a glance. A place for people who favor the macabre to come and visit. It no longer stood for a loving family, but a horrific crime.
The right thing to do was to raze the house. I believe there is just cause to remove these statues from public square. They no longer hold an honor to a person, but have become a symbol of pain.
If we can remove them, replacing them with a symbol of hope… why would we not want to do so? Something that brings love, joy, and peace to the community at large.
If we can re-home them, perhaps we can preserve the person and their impact on history in a more appropriate atmosphere. We can use these statues for teaching, preserving history (history forgotten is doomed to be repeated).
Not everything has to be THIS WAY or THAT WAY. There is a measure of middle ground that we can explore.