Power Flows from the Barrel of a Sculptor's Chisel
As the report accompanying this photo notes, the statues are going up again throughout China, and older ones are being carefully restored. They are all quite huge, and have the same effect when one looks at them as one has looking at the giant King now in Washington, D.C.
So am I not surprised, after a quick internet search, to find out that sculptor Le Yixin is -- yes, you guessed it-- most well known for his sculptures of Mao Zedong.
So, our greatest civil rights leader, a man dedicated to non-violence, Ghandian principles applied to oppression within a democratic society, is honored by a sculptor whose background is that of fashioning tributes to one of the late century’s most horrible tyrants and mass murderers.
The inevitable question: What would Martin Luther King, Jr. think? And how would he feel about being put up on a pedestal and represented by a giant Mao-like sculpture that in appearance and impact looks like a classic work of Maoist propaganda art? It is in the genre of Chinese style “socialist realism,” resembling the classic works of that style that was common in the Soviet Union from the 1920s on.
I don’t think Dr. King, looking down from above, is very happy today.