A last word or two on the Maine mural controversy that I wrote of in a couple of posts here. I came across an interesting project from guerilla artists who went to the Maine state capital building and projected a large image of the mural on it, re-installing the mural in effect. Like the mural itself, it was symbolic, which is the purpose of art. The anonymous statement for their project was simply put but effective:
We put this video up to remind our peers that you have a voice, as soon as you choose to use it. If your government takes a symbol away and tries to hide history, you can make the truth resonate a thousand times stronger with your own 2 hands.
This is a lesson the labor unions taught us all, though some have chosen to forget it. We will remind you.
The maker of the art is unimportant. What matters is that you see it, and you have the freedom to speak about it.
I was also contacted by an AP reporter, Glenn Adams, who had somehow stumbled across this blog while researching an article on the widespread response across the nation to the mural controversy. We talked for a while about why I had responded to the removal of the mural and the symbolism to the whole thing. He told me he planned on using a quote from my blogpost as a sort of summing up. The article came out yesterday afternoon and mentions the Detroit Institute of Arts’ Diego Rivera mural as well as an incident concerning Ralph Fasanella, who I have also mentioned here in the past. One of Fasanella’s paintings had to do with a famous strike at one of the mills in Lawrence, Massachusetts in the early part of the 20th century and had hung for years in a hearing room of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Labor and Education. It was removed in 1994 after the Republican’s took control of congress. So this is certainly not the first time nor will it be the last time that politicians try to alter the symbology of our history.
Here’s the video of the Maine mural being projected: