Life
    Culture

    9 statues that are ripe for removal

    17 June 2020

    Rodin’s Thinker, Paris

    Thinking is an activity human beings are no longer capable of doing, so why should an inanimate object be allowed to indulge in this most dangerous of pastimes? Thinking is a privilege — and we all know that privilege is to be fought and expunged wherever it is encountered. Moreover, it is too sedentary a statue — if it was depicted pondering whilst, say, in the act of pushing over another statue, that would be fine, but passivity is complicity in white supremacy.

    Photo: Getty

    Cristiano Ronaldo, Madeira

    (Getty)

    Cristiano Ronaldo is someone who has spent years sculpting his own flesh into anatomical perfection. For the metal manifestation of his features, therefore, to resemble a potato having an aneurism, is a crime against truth that will reflect as badly upon us as upon him. Since most other public works of art will have been cancelled by the time we reach the next decade, we cannot leave it to chance that this may be our sole artistic legacy.

    Michelangelo’s David, Florence

    Photo: Getty

    Quite aside from the fact that it’s a giant white man, carved from the whitest of white marble by another white man, this statue is often described as a “masterpiece”. The word “master” is a patriarchal term for an oppressor, whilst “piece” is what we shall have none of whilst these statues remain standing – if you’re dyslexic.

    Living Statues

    Though real statues are problematic, to imitate them for financial gain is still cultural appropriation, making light of the lived experiences of many an inanimate object through history. By and large, these imitators are as you might imagine — white men pretending to be statues of white men. This doubles the need to pull them down.

    Thierry Henry, London

    Photo: Getty

    Thierry Henry was a ruthless tyrant, who arrived in this country from across the channel in 1999, and spent 8 years brutally suppressing the people of Tottenham. For that, his followers erected a statue of him in north London, which is equally reviled by the Irish for the crimes he committed against them during a World Cup qualifier in 2009.

    Nelson’s Column, London

    L’existence d’un grand mémorial à l’un des plus grands criminels de guerre de l’histoire est un affront à la dignité du peuple Français. C’est une gifle au visage à la nation, à ses valeurs et à son caractère. Nous ne subirons plus l’insulte d’avoir à le supporter pendant que nous marchons dans les rues de votre capitale. Nelson doit tomber!

    Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro

    On a hill above Rio, Christ stands triumphant, arms aloft amid the heavens of Latin America; his vast, shimmering domains — fruits of conquest in his name — lying before him. Although Christ was the original social justice warrior — upsetting moneymen, telling people what to do, wearing sandals etc — he got too big, wrote a self help book, and is one of the five cast members on Queer Eye. Yeah, he pretends to be all progressive, but he’s not a true ally.

    Statue of Liberty, New York

    Once upon a time, this statue was the promise of the American dream – a gift from a fading colonial power to the land of opportunity. But nowadays, that’s a harder sell, as we all know America isn’t really free. Sure you can vote but what good is that when people who lack your intelligence choose the wrong politicians? Far better to move to China where those problematic events called elections are taken care of for you and where you’ll struggle to get served in a bar if you happen to be African American.

    America really is the pits in comparison. So perhaps now is the time to change this most famous of statues — rip down the giant white woman holding a torch to the east, and replace it with a towering, face-masked President Xi, offering you a mandarin phrasebook.

    Buddha

    If you Google the world’s biggest statues, almost all of them are of Buddha and most have unrealistic body standards. All, that is, except the Buddai — the rotund laughing buddhas. With an obesity epidemic almost as problematic as the current Covid one, and queues outside every McDonald’s Drive-thru, now is not the time to be putting muffin tops on a pedestal.