One of Britain’s most famous sculptors has proposed a new solution to the dispute The statue of the controversial Cecil Rhodes Above Oxford University College. Out of shame, turn the colonel against the wall.
Sir Anthony Gormley, known for his public art impressions such as The Angel of the North, told the Financial Times that turning Rhodes over would help resolve the “collective amnesia” around such monuments by countering the inequalities of the nation’s imperial past.
“Rhodes must remain at its core,” Gormley said, rejecting arguments to oust the 19th-century imperialist from the front of Aurilla College. “If we have to reconsider our relationship with him, I’ll just make him look at the wall, not the outside.”
Clarifying his position would mean “recognition of collective shame,” but he would “confirm the fact that Ariel College’s many institutions are owned by Rhodes’s wealth,” Gormley said.
The statue has been the subject of heated debate for six years against the anti-Armenian colonialist Rhodes Must Fall movement, divided among the university’s “ministers”, who strongly oppose the removal of such “historic monuments”. The college decided last week to keep the statue in place.
Gormley, who made a bronze figure looking at another part of Oxford, described the moment Statue of Edward Colston, a slave trader It was “sunk and restored” from the port of Bristol last year as a kind of “baptism”. But he remains wary of moving controversial monuments to museums.
“The public statue is subject to collective amnesia very quickly. I do not think it is a bad thing to ask again. “Who are these people? Why are they here?” “But by removing them, you accept amnesia,” he said.
Rhodes founded Rhodesia և De Beers Diamond Company նվիր has donated some of its fortune in Africa to support Oxford colleges and to provide scholarships of the same name to beneficiaries such as former US President Bill Clinton.
Critics say his record of exploiting black workers and laying the groundwork for racial segregation in South Africa should be condemned, not respected.
Faced with street protests over the statue last year, Ariel’s governing body initially voted to remove it անկախ set up an independent commission to study the issues raised by its heritage և monuments.
But after the commission’s report was finalized last week, Ariel changed his name and decided to keep the monument. It cites the cost of securing planning permits, which will be long and likely to be covered by Robert en Henrik, Secretary of State for Local Government.
The 114-page report of the commission studied Ariel’s options including moving a statue of Rhodes inside, leaving the niche empty, or ordering new artwork to fill the space.
Sohr John von Hayes, a Tory MP who chairs the House General Intelligence Group, welcomed Gormley’s argument in favor of keeping the statue, but called the idea of turning it over “utterly disgraceful.” “This is about as close to basic opinion as I am to abstract expressionism,” he said.