I came across an image with ceremony online a couple of days ago and I found myself wondering why the American people would erect a thirty foot statue of the demigod Mao emerging from a mountain wearing an impassive, expressionless Martin Luther King mask there on the National Mall. Then I found out it was made in China. The politics of it are over my head, and as a symbol of cultural and economic imperialism it’s too complicated. Simply as art it’s less than eloquent.
Couldn’t fault the Chinese artists, commissioned to represent a great man in a struggle far away, martyr to an issue that they, living in the most homogeneous society on Earth, probably couldn’t really even comprehend. Through Chinese eyes they made the best monument they could make, but I wonder about my fellow citizens here who don’t seem to notice or care that it looks more like an ‘imported’ bobble head toy, only real big, than an appropriate and thoughtful expression of honor and gratitude.