The new statue of Martin Luther King, Jr. opened on the National Mall yesterday, with much hoopla as well as with much controversy. It was sculpted by a Chinese artist named Lei Yixin, shown above with his prototype of the King statue.
Denver based artist Ed Dwight, who was on the planning committee for the King memorial, was anything but happy. Dr. King, Dwight said, “would be turning over in his grave if he knew that the artist who sculpted King was from a Communist country.” Others added that they thought King looked confrontational, and that his face looked Asian rather than American.
One thing struck me as I looked at the photos of the King Memorial. Having toured China, and having seen scores of huge Mao statues still on display throughout the country, I immediately thought that the King Memorial looks very similar to all those giant Mao statues glorifying the “Great Helmsman” in the People’s Republic of China.
See here for yourself in the following two examples, and look closely at the face of Mao and compare it to that of Dr. King: