In August, after an open competition for an artwork to celebrate Maya Angelou outside the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library, the City chose an interesting piece by Lava Thomas:
“In an interview with Hyperallergic, Thomas said she chose a little-known photo of Angelou, with short natural hair and hoop earrings, from a 1973 interview with Bill Moyers where she talked about the price of freedom … She thought of a book because the monument would be outside the library. She wanted something that would represent Angelou, who lived in San Francisco for a while, performing at nightclubs, like the hungry i and the Purple Onion, and became the first African American woman cable car conductor. In Thomas’s view, this monument had to be different than the usual city statues. “I wanted to situate that artwork in Black art,” Thomas said. “The Benin bronzes of West Africa are rectangular and used to represent nobility, so I looked at those.”
Two weeks after the award was made, it was rescinded by San Francisco Supervisor Catherine Stefani who wanted “a more figurative representation.” Apparently, she wants artwork of a black feminist icon to be more like white mens’ statues — on a horse, perhaps, wearing a cocked hat and waving a rifle or a telescope or some such thing.
The decision to rescind after the award was made has been called “shady” and “incredibly disrespectful”. Hard to disagree, especially in a city that prides itself on its progressive attitudes.
At yesterday’s Vancouver City Council Meeting, Clr. Colleen Hardwick’s Motion to establish an Auditor General was passed unanimously (with Clr. Wiebe absent).
The Motion passed more quickly and less divisively than I had expected, though it was not without incident. Clr. Pete Fry issued a set of amendments that sounded as if they had been drafted by and on behalf of the City Manager, but Clr. Rebecca Bligh managed to remove the most objectionable features of the Fry amendments through an amendment of her own.
I am hopeful for the future but now, we wait and see what impediments the City bureaucracy and their allies throw up to delay and/or water down this fine achievement.
According to the calculations of Archbishop Usher of Armargh, today is the earth’s birthday.
His calculations led him to believe that God created the world on October 23rd, 4004 BC.
Now, there are those who say his math is wrong, but let’s not quibble on our birthday!