San Jose Arts Committee

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Posted by panch from ( on Saturday, June 15, 2002 at 0:29AM :

A few days before I got here from Mexico, my mom received a call from the director of the Arts Committee wanting to talk to me. I had been expecting a letter from them saying the Shumirum was not right for San Jose because we came, and she came, from a region where there was "a lot of violence"...and maybe others would object to placing the statue there just now.

This was the meeting where we were to discuss the aesthetic merits of the sculpture...but we never got to that. I left confident that a sculpture of mine accepted by Chicago wasn't half bad...and figured we were done with San Jose.

When I finally got a hold of her it was to hear that the city had just voted the funds to re-do the downtown area where we proposed placing the statue and so everything was on hold. Now it don't take much to figure out that this is politicspeak for "stall". When I asked if we would then consider it after the work was complete, she said "possibly". Said there were five points to be considered. I said I knew them and we had settled four of them and I'd appeared to discuss aesthetic merit, which was the fifth one...till they came up with "regional appropriateness" or seemed to me we could have discussed the artistic merit...accepted the piece, then waited for the work to be done before installing it.

You have to feel for them though...they want desperately to refuse the piece but don't quite know how to say it. Well...we shall see.

Then a couple of days ago I read in the paper that San Jose will finally install an equestrian statue of James Fallon, one of the founders of San Jose who brought it into the United States, that had been placed in storage for nine years because the local Mexican American population didn't like the guy cause he hanged some Mexicans and beat his wives.

Just this week the city has decided that History is what it is...that if we used that criteria there would be no monuments of anyone...and they're going forward. This statue will join others honoring the five Native tribes of this region.

Well...if James Fallon can be forgiven for what he did 150 years ago, I reckon we can be forgiven for what our queen did 3000 years ago. This is a better climate now than it was to ask for some recognition for American citizens of Assyrian descent who live here, pay taxes, fight in wars to defend their country, and would like to have something of theirs on public display to inspire their children and educate their neighbors. We'll get there.

Jackie: Be sure to send the ENTIRE article.

-- panch
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