Art as Counter Argument: Bronze Sculptures Give Context to Confederate Monuments
July 22, 2020
In this unique time of civil unrest and social reform, the art of sculpture plays a pivotal role in recanting the history of the confederacy—a story some are eager to forget and others are determined to preserve. While the two opposing sides of the argument—those who wish to remove confederate monuments and those intent on letting them stand—garner most of the headlines, there is a growing faction of people proposing a new solution.
The concept of ‘recontextualization’ prevents the complicated legacy of the confederacy from being erased in southern cities like Richmond, VA and New Orleans, LA, while portraying these historical figures in a more realistic light. Having sculpted statues of civil rights heroes like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks in the former-confederate city of Atlanta, GA, Cherrylion Studios is delighted to play our part in this vital movement that shows what a strong statement can be made by a single bronze sculpture.
Confederate Monuments Glorified White Supremacy in the Jim Crow South
In order to understand what should be done regarding confederate monuments, it’s important to realize the context in which these statues were created. The large majority of these monuments were erected in the early 20th century, long after the likes of Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis were fighting to secede from the union.
During a time when African Americans were regarded as second-class citizens in the south, these sculptures were used as a means of intimidation to maintain the stronghold of white supremacy. It’s worth noting that many of these sculptures were commissioned and funded by veteran soldiers of the confederacy. While it’s hard to argue that this cause was a worthy fight, it begs the question, is it right to erase the heinous faces of history in the name of social progress?
Why Dismantle History When You Can Sculpt the Truth?
Cranes have been tasked with removing confederate sculptures in cities across the country, from Little Rock, AR to Jackson, MS. However, some sculptors—Cherrylion Studios included—see these problematic pedestals as an opportunity to provide a definitive answer as to which side won the war.
Monument avenue in Richmond, VA is home to the nation’s largest concentration of confederate statues. However, one sculpture stands out among the rest—a monument depicting African-American tennis legend Arthur Ash surrounded by adoring fans. A black man ascending to icon status could never be possible in the confederate south, so this indelible statue proves that the mission of the confederacy was never manifested. Sculptures like this cement the fact that the confederate leaders failed in their effort to perpetuate the institution of slavery, no matter how many sculptures of heroes on horseback they construct.
Cherrylion Studios Created a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Sculpture in Atlanta, GA
Cherrylion Studios is proud to have created our very own ‘counter sculpture’—a bronze statue of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that stands at the Georgia State Capitol Building in Atlanta, GA. This custom sculpture resides right around the corner from a monument depicting former Georgia governor, confederate general, and Ku Klux Klan leader, John Brown Gordon.
The fact that a statue of an African-American civil rights hero can stand in such proximity to a confederate monument is proof that the confederacy had very little long-lasting impact on history. Sculptures of the real heroes of history can be placed next to confederate monuments to undermine the argument that there’s any legacy worth upholding in the first place.
If a man like Martin Luther King Jr. can rise to such prominence as to be immortalized at the Capitol Building of a former-confederate state, then what did these confederate leaders ever really accomplish?
Commission Your Own Confederate Counter Sculpture from Cherrylion Studios in Atlanta, GA
Cherrylion Studios is beyond honored to create any custom bronze sculpture that commemorates the work of civil rights heroes or contributes to the movement toward equality in America. If you have an idea for a sculpture that would give context to a confederate monument in Wilmington, NC; Lexington, KY; or any other city, we’d love to hear it! Contact Cherrylion Studios in Atlanta, GA to commission a custom bronze sculpture today.