April 09, 2008

"Degrading" Goodacre statue replaced

Gallery replaces controversial statueA Rapid City gallery has unveiled a new statue that will replace one that some felt was degrading to American Indians.

The old bronze statue, "He Is, They Are" by Glenna Goodacre, featured an Indian man with his hands tied behind his back and reflected the artist's feelings of when American Indians were put on reservations.

"Some people in the area Native American community felt this statue was degrading to Native Americans. We regret that," Ray Hillenbrand, owner of Prairie Edge Trading Co. and Galleries, said in a prepared statement.
Comment:  Nice statue.

I can see both sides on this issue. On the one hand, the Indian looks proud, strong, dignified. He's literally larger than life. On the other hand, his head is bowed submissively and of course he's tied up.

Presumably Goodacre felt sad at the thought of Indians being held captive and made her Indian subject seem sad. Why not depict him with his head raised, staring defiantly, perhaps struggling to break free? Wouldn't that also convey how Indians felt, yet send a more positive message?

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