How dare that brazen bronze hussy!
By MARY SANCHEZ
The Kansas City Star
Thats the misguided sentiment behind an online petition to force the removal of a bare-breasted statue in the Overland Park arboretum. A Stilwell woman thinks the piece is vulgar and will encourage sexting.
The full-scale artwork depicts a woman, her breasts exposed by an open shirt, tied at the waist. Shes disjointed, as if her torso is cut from her bottom half. Shes also headless and her hand holds a camera, as if shes snapping a picture of herself.
The concerns drew a gracious but unnecessary consideration. City officials debated turning the statue around.
Except turning it would mean her bare buttocks would be about eye level to the average fifth grader.
How about art appreciation classes instead?
By late Sunday, more than 2,000 people had signed a petition at Change.org opposing the statue. Two counter-petitions supporting the statue had more than 140 signatures.
The citys not giving up the piece. It, along with 10 other donated pieces in the collection, will have permanent homes at the adjacent Kemper Farm.
Listen to the artist, Yu Chang: This woman is choosing to take pictures of only part of herself, deleting her own identity not focusing on the importance of her whole self.
Yes. The intended message is the exact opposite of how some view it.
Worse, the backlash shows a lack of regard for the generous international gift these artworks signify. No taxpayer dollars were spent.
Chinese-American artist and Johnson County resident Kwan Wu (who also contributed a piece) arranged the 11 donations as a cultural exchange.
The city is updating signage: Some pieces include a display of the human body and parental guidance is encouraged.
Theres also a statue of a baby, Pan Fen, who appears ready to leap from the cocoon of a water droplet. Pan Fen is nude, and clearly male.
Another piece is a young girl, poised to jump into a stream. Gee, think we should worry some weirdo will lurk in the woods eyeing her pubescent curves?
The Stilwell mother who started the first petition is channeling a real problem. Its just not one instigated by statues.
Young girls (and women old enough to know better) often arent wise about whom they send personal self-pics to. The artists goal more conversation about females valuing their whole selves, mind and body is extremely pertinent.
Emotionally-mature parents could engage that conversation after viewing Changs artwork with their teen daughters.
All young girls in America are regularly exposed to air-brushed, often unnaturally thin and silicone-enhanced images of the female figure. None of it is helpful in cultivating a high self-esteem.
But if adults wish to impart natural and healthy expressions of how women are viewed as beautiful worldwide, art is where they should turn.
To reach Mary Sanchez, call 816-234-4752 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.