Just watched this on TV a few moments ago;
So what do you think? I'm looking at the pictures of the mentioned statue and I'm not exactly sure what people are seeing and complaining about in this statue. One person commented that he feels that MLK would actually spin in his grave over the sight but again with my warped minded, I don't think that would be the case. There are other issues over the statue; it looks to confrontational, its too tall and some find that it doesn't look peaceful enough to be a 'true' represontation of the late leader. Mind you, his CHILDREN don't see eye-to-eye with all the comments as one of King's sons mentioned that he found the statue fine and he enjoyed it.
So is this just a case of nitpicking or are there really issues within the concept of the statue itself to cause such ire?
I don't think it looks too Asian but the head does seem out of proportion with the body.
Here is more info on the statue in question;
What I hate about is the fact that these guys are trying to own King, as it seems that they are implying that King was for black people and black people only. I'm all for giving more props to black artist but these guys have gone a bit too far because it sounds like unless you are black, you are not allowed to depict black leaders even if they were a great inspiration to you. That's basically like me being denied to draw influintal Chinese leaders because based only because I am not Chinese even if I respect them. Now, if I had been denied to do this and told someone, it would have been deemed racist but when apparently in the case of the MLK statue, it is not. It seems like hypcrisy to me.
What I also don't like is how they're bringing up Chinese politics in this. There is no denying that there have been a lot of turmoil in Chinese history regarding its own politics but it seems rather unfair to instantly say that King would have denied this man the opportunity to create his work based on this. I do not believe King would have denied the man based just because he was Chinese because King didn't think about that and besides that, we do not even know the man's political leanings anyway so just to blurt out that because he is Chinese he MUST support the most radical factions of the government is insulting.
I find it funny though based on everything that has happened; reading into it, its an ugly debate over nothing. King's children said they had NO problem with the pose or the artist but then these guys show up and act as if they can speak for King, even though what they are saying is the direct OPPOSITE of what King wanted in our lives. King wasn't about separation but the people in the article I linked are implying that he WAS which is what I can not understand. They try to pussy foot around the issue that they used politics as a way to say that the man wasn't right for the job and then try to exuse themselves by saying that they weren't asking about his views on Chinese politics but whether he could do the job....
And he DID do the job.
Again, it brings up the sadness that black people can be petty in certain things. I wonder if they realize that this creation isn't going to be the last of any type of art made of Dr. King and just because its made by someone who isn't black isn't a terrible thing. With all the stupid shit I see being said about civil rights in the past and other things dealing with black history, I'm glad that I can see someone who is not black look towards the efforts that were made and consider them moving towards a better world. Seriously, what the fuck happened?
It's a statue that looks like MLK, he looks like a proud intellectual, standing up and moving forward from the rouch, uncut matrix of the metal or stone or whatever makes up the statue. I don't see what's so controversial about it... now, is the controversy around the amt of money they're spending on this stuff? 120million dollars? Also, if they did have a process on picking the artist it'd be interesting to read. I'm glad you also posted an interview w/ the artist who's been commissioned, because I think artists' interpretations are more important than the race of the person...
No sooner did the new memorial to Martin Luther King go up in
Washington, with newspaper stories
and TV segments all archived on Google, than a sharp-eyed British news
Shanghai -- working for the
Telegraph in London -- reported that the large marble bust of MLK was
''outsourced'' to China and carved by a Chinese sculptor
working in China and that MLK's eyes even look a bit "Asian" in the
I could be making this up, but I'm not.
Malcolm Moore, writing under a headline reading "Martin Luther King
memorial made in China" -- with the subhead reading "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" -- notes that
the MLK statue, standing in the shadow of the Washington Monument,
shows King ''emerging from a mountain of Chinese granite with his arms
"However," Moore continues, "there has been [a mountain of]
controversy over the choice of Yi-shin Lei, a 57-year-old master
sculptor from Changsha in China's 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 King appears slightly
Asian in Lei's rendering."
The comment that MLK appears slightly Asia in the rendering mirrors
comments seen in some Asian blogs
over the year about how some Hollywood stars are depicted with Asian
eyes in movie ads in Japan and Taiwan.
You might not be aware of this, but when rural movie theaters in Taiwan hang
handpainted advertising posters outside the theaters to attract
moviegoers and introduce upcoming attractions (with Chinese Mandarin
characters for the titles), American and European actors and actresses
painted with Asian eyes. I've been watching the phenomenon for many years,
and while I can't get a handle on it exactly, I am getting close and closer.
For example, a few years ago, when I saw a huge movie banner poster
for ''Mamma Mia!'' hanging
over the main entrance of the Carnival Movie Theater four-plex in my little town
in south Taiwan, it was at first hard to recognize the actors in the
original Hollywood photo poster
plastered inside the theater lobby: Pierce Brosnan, Meryl Streep and
And an outdoor movie banner for "Don't Mess with the Zohan" also seemed
to portray Adam Sandler
with very Asian eyes, not his normal Caucasian eyes.
It's true, and I think most Americans and Europeans will be surprised
to hear of this,
but many of Taiwan's hand-painted movie posters -- a dying art here,
by the way, being quickly
replaced by photographic replications -- portray American actors and
actresses with Asian eyes.
My guess is that the elderly men working on the large outdoor canvass
banners are painting
the posters using photos of the Hollywood stars, but as the paint job
proceeds step by step,
the eyes get reworked, unconciously, into "oriental" eyes, since the
painter sees reality through
that perspective and only knows how to draw and paint eyes that way.
When I asked for an explanation of this apparent sleight of hand, er,
eye, Jessica Chen, 27, a staff member at the Carnival, said that she
also noticed how Western actors routinely got
Oriental eyes when the local poster painter did his magic. She added
that she was sure Taiwanese people were not even aware of this slight
changing of the eyes in such large-size, outdoor movie posters. I
asked a few movie-goers outside the theater,
and that all told me that had never thought of this before. That's
when I knew I was one to something interesting.
"I don't even think the painter is even aware of what he is doing," Ms. Chen
continued. "I think he is using the Hollywood poster as the basis for his
handpainted banner, painted on canvass, but that he unconciously forms
the eyes of the characters in the only style he knows, which is the
Asian style for Taiwanese, Chinese or Japanese actors. I am sure he is
not aware that he has painted Meryl Streep with Asian eyes. It's
simply a cultural and visual thing, I am sure, and he means no harm to
anyone at all."
An Israeli friend living in Singapore, a longtime Asia expat, told me
that he had seen similar Asian perspectives
on movie posters around Asia, telling me by email: "Hmm, I find the
eyes thing very subtle, as you point it out. But you know,
I've seen these kinds of hand-painted posters in Asia before, too,
especially in Vietnam, but I never really noticed that."
So look again at the face on the MLK memorial now in Washington and
let me know what see YOU see:
Asian eyes on Dr King, or the real thing?
It's true, perhaps, that we see what we are imprinted to see, all over
the world, and that regional artists work from that
set of brainwaves.
First off, I thought the family and others being pissed that a Chinese artist rendered the memorial was stupid. Whoever was most skilled should have got the job regardless of race. I think King would've been pleased that an Asian man got the gig. ...That being said, when I first saw the intial pictures I actually thought the same thing ironically!("He looks Asian") It didn't look like King. The eyes did look pretty "Asian" to me. I ain't even gonna front. I had issues with the confrontational stance too. It was little off putting intially. But then I began to see more pictures and the resemblance began to come out more. In retrospect the stance makes sense as well. This was a man that stood and ultimately died for his beliefs so to render him in some welcoming or smiling gesture would obscure and trivilize his legacy in my opinion. I have a sneaky supsicion that pictues aren't really doing the memorial justice so I'll make my final judgement when I go see it in person in a couple of days.
Is this even an issue????
Dr. King's eyes were a little squinty anyway...ppl are being way to picky.