Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Chicago monuments under assault, Part 20: A Signal of Peace

I return to my series on Mayor Lori Lightfoot's Chicago Monument Project, her response to last summer's riot outside the Grant Park Christopher Columbus statue. Oh, it's been a week since my last post in this series. Sorry, real life, car problems and work duties, intruded.

Cyrus Edwin Dallin designed today's entry, A Signal of Peace, which as you can see potrays a Plains Indian. If you go by the way of the bronze statue's title, it is of course about peace. 

Who can be against peace?

In 2021 it's quite easy to be opposed. Dallin's problem, my guess, is that he was not a Native American. Which makes Dallin, who died in 1944, guilty of cultural appropriation. Odd term, that. It should be phrased as "cultural misappropriation."

Last week in a New York Post op-ed Bruce Bawer wrote, "If things continue on the current trajectory, soon we will have no real culture at all, save for the most drearily PC kind, drearier than even the worst of Socialist Realism — the Soviet Union's one acceptable genre of art and culture."

As I noted in my post on the Haymarket Monument, a Socialist Realism piece stands where the police statue once did.

In that same editorial Bawer notes that Tom Hanks' Oscar-winning performance as a gay man in Philadelphia was universally lauded. Now the expectation is that gay men can only portray gay men, trans people can only portray trans characters. It's still okay for gay people to act in heterosexual parts, of course. Hanks, coincidentally, is distantly related to Abraham Lincoln, by way of the 16th president's mother, Nancy Hanks. Lincoln's five Chicago statues are "under review" by the secretive Chicago Monuments Project.

Dallin's parents left the Church of Latter Day Saints prior to their marriage. Yet he was still hired to design the statue of the angel Moroni that stands on top of the Salt Lake Temple, the closest thing to the Vatican for the Mormon faith. Dallin was a Unitarian.

By all accounts that I could find Dallin, who grew up in Utah, had a deep respect for Native Americans. A Signal of Peace is part of a four-statue series, The Epic of the Indian.

A Signal of Peace stands, for now, in Lincoln Park quite close to the Lake Michigan shoreline. Another targeted statue of an American Indian, The Alarm, isn't too far away.

To comment on the monuments "under review" please visit the Chicago Monuments Project's "Feedback page." Please be polite but firm in your comments. 

Please Tweet this post. When you do so use the #ChicagoMonuments hashtag.

Earlier posts

Related posts of mine at Da Tech Guy

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