They represent violent, racist ideals that have no place in this time.
Additional resources and Background Info
A updating list of monuments toppled by Black Lives Matters protests
Toppled and Removed Monuments: A Continually Updated Guide to Statues and the Black Lives Matter Protests
In this interview, art historian Erin L. Thompson observes: “As an art historian I know that destruction is the norm and preservation is the rare exception. We have as humans been making monuments to glorify people and ideas since we started making art, and since we started making statues, other people have started tearing them down.”
In this video Royal Roads University president Philip Steenkamp refutes the idea that statues teach us anything about history, and argues that statues are history. Politically motivated choices. He points out that we don’t need statues of Hitler to remember the history of the Holocaust. Statues are reflections of prevailing interpretations and ideology. Says Steenkamp: “At some point, it becomes intolerable to live with the images of slave traders, genocidal kings, brutal dictators, and the architects of white supremacy. And there is a justifiable fury about honouring these figures in the public square.”
Siddartha Mitten writes: “The emergence of statues, monuments, and public art — both magnets for protest and levers for government response, friendly or otherwise — as fulcrum points has opened up a powerful and fertile hybrid civic space. Each statue is a marker for a national apparatus of power that is now broadly understood as a system that, whatever its past promise, has failed the people. It is also an element, sometimes a focal point, in an organic local history of struggle, resistance, and political and administrative negotiation.”
Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of Confederacy
By Southern Poverty Law Center
Go ahead, topple the monuments to the Confederacy. All of them.
Opinion piece by Bree Newsome
Eddie and Me
By Indu Vashist, for Canadian Art (2017)
The Problem with Marc Quinn’s Black Lives Matter sculpture
By Thomas J. Price, for Art Newspaper
Monument Lab is a public art studio based out of Philadelphia (founded by Ken Lum & Paul Farber) who work to support projects that rethink our received monuments and rethink public spaces to unearth histories and support social justice. They have an extensive series of podcast episodes available on their website including episode 19 about OCAD MFA grad Coco Guzman, and their “Missing Democracy” project.
Missing Democracy art project by Coco Guzman
Missing Black Technofossils Here project by Quentin VerCetty
“Missing Black Technofossils Here” uses 2D and 3D digital renderings to imagine future monuments to Black communities leaders within the city.
Watch the talk Quentin VerCetty gave on Toronto and “living monuments”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdgNVApOOww
This art project that was initiated during the Idle No More protests. Indigenous activists Susan Blight, an Anishinaabe from Couchiching First Nation in Ontario, and Hayden King, also Anishinaabe from Beausoleil First Nation, founded Ogimaa Mikana as a project to re-claim land titles. The activists placed stickers over official street signs in Toronto to denote indigenous names of streets and erected billboards with Anishinaabe-language phrases in several cities across Ontario.
A life cycle of artist intervention in monuments of public space
Artists did a guerrilla installation in a NY park https://mashable.com/2015/04/06/snowden-sculpture-fort-greene-brooklyn/#:eyJzIjoiZiIsImkiOiJfaHRjYmpod3VncHAzbzh0OSJ9
Police removed the Snowden bust. Later, the Illuminator projected a hologram of bust http://theilluminator.org/edward-snowden-hologram/
The artists were never charged, they were ticketed https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/may/07/artists-edward-snowden-statue-new-york-park-charges
The piece ultimately ended up in Brooklyn museum https://news.artnet.com/art-world/edward-snowden-bust-brooklyn-museum-406727