Martin Luther King Jr Memorial: Made in China

August 29, 2011 at 6:41 am (Political Ponderings)

Yeah, I guess I can see how that could be seen as controversial these days – in the middle of a recession where at least part of the blame has been placed on outsourcing a large portion of our manufacturing industry to China.

It is perhaps a fitting tribute to racial co-operation. However, the decision to outsource to China the carving of a new national memorial to Martin Luther King has raised eyebrows in the United States.

The 30ft-tall statue, which forms the centrepiece of a $120 million,  four-acre memorial to Dr King, opened to the public on Monday on the National Mall in Washington. It is the only memorial on the Mall that does not honour a president or fallen soldiers.

Standing in the shadow of the Washington Monument, the statue shows Dr King emerging from a mountain of Chinese granite with his arms crossed and is called The Stone of Hope.

However, there has been controversy over the choice of Lei Yixin, a 57-year-old master sculptor from Changsha in Hunan province, to carry out the work. Critics have openly asked why a black, or at least an American, artist was not chosen and even remarked that Dr King appears slightly Asian in Mr Lei’s rendering.

OK, I know most people won’t know and even less will care that it was sculpted by a Chinese artist out of Chinese stone and assembled by a team of largely Chinese workers.
And 20 years from now I doubt anybody is going to care any more – but right now, that is just another in the hugely long list of things our government has done under the new (hopefully soon to be old) administration since taking office.

Ed Dwight, a sculptor in Denver, said Dr King would be “turning over in his grave” if he knew his likeness had been conceived by someone living under a Communist regime.

“He would rise up from his grave and walk into their offices and go, ‘How dare you?'”

Yeah. Full article here.

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