Yesterday, this blog’s occasional Canadian correspondent Anna Smith mentioned a nine-foot sculpture of Satan with an erect penis which had mysteriously appeared on Tuesday in a Vancouver park and was visible to people in passing commuter trains. No-one knew who ‘erected’ the statue and no-one claimed responsibility for creating it. The local authorities removed the statue on Wednesday because it was not officially commissioned by them.
Two hours after I posted my blog, I received this comment from someone with a Yahoo Canada e-mail address:
I’m glad it is gone… the continuing moral malaise the world finds itself in is demonstrated in this statue. Let us not forget that the representation of what is deemed as evil is now being exalted as a refreshing thing. Worshiping that which is the root cause of all corruption will only lead to our collective demise, see the fall of the Roman Empire.
Our system is completely corrupt, all of it lies. Promoting the idea to people to love the devil is akin to instructing people to live completely selfish lives devoid of any humanity, compassion, understanding, good will and love. You want a statue of the devil… go ahead, but please how about you openly place it in a more conducive venue for this type of expression. I have children also. Call me a prude ! You fucker.
This morning, I awoke to another e-mail from Anna Smith, telling me that over 1,500 people have signed an online petition to the Mayor of Vancouver headed:
BRING THE GIANT SATAN-WITH-AN ERECTION STATUE BACK TO EAST VANCOUVER
The petition was started by a Darryl Greer who, apparently, plays bass in a local Vancouver band called Revenger. It reads:
The City of Vancouver has long been a leader in investing in public art to beautify its legendary and illustrious landscapes. For example, its near $100,000 expenditure on a statue of a porcelain dog on Main Street in the recent past served as a reminder that the merit of art is subjective and the value of public art can’t be qauntified simply in a dollar figure.
The Giant Satan-With-an-Erection statue, unlike the porcelain dog, cost the city nothing and was far more visible and likely to stir public debate than the barely visible cartoonish canine on a pole. Just as some were offended by the price tag and substance of the porcelain dog, others may have been offended at the sight of Lucifer’s Plastic Love Pump, but none would be offended at its price tag.
It simply cost its creator(s?) time and energy to construct and install with no thought of monetary gain, especially from the public purse. Just like the beloved “Dude Chilling Park” sign that was clandestinely installed and later allowed due to public pressure and support, the Giant Beelzebub-With-a-Boner statue should be reinstalled as a piece of public art and serve as a reminder that art is in the eye of the beholder and nothing more.
Apparently a sign saying DUDE CHILLING PARK appeared in Vancouver’s Guelph Park. Officials removed the sign, but it proved to be so popular that the city eventually relented and allowed a permanent sign to be installed in the park… although it was quickly stolen.
Comments on Darryl Greer’s Satan statue petition include:
This was the only public art piece in Vancouver in recent memory to even capture my attention. Most public art elicits little or no response from me or others. Art is meant to provoke thought and opinion. By this logic, the Satan statue holds artistic value and deserves to be reinstated.
Jordan Fehr (Vancouver)
To send a message to the politicians that art does not have to be pricey to be valuable to the taxpayers. We don’t want our money spent irrationally when someone is willing to display their work for free.
Shauna Johnson (Coquitlam, Canada)
Censoring art is a slippery slope, if we let even this one incident slide for fear of offending somebody, who knows what will be covered up next? Perhaps the Mona Lisa will be considered offensive to Muslims for showing too much skin.
Sean Idzenga (Hartington, Canada)
If we have to succumb to people standing directly outside of Skytrain stations (on public property) with megaphones, screeching Bible passages at us, I think a silent Satan statue is more than fair.
Daylya Ruyg (Vancouver)
Jesus this, Jesus that. What about Satan?
Melissa Athina (Ottawa, Canada)
We all need some devil dick in our lives.
Makayla Bailey (Vancouver)
Dude. Did you see the boner on that thing? That makes a statement, man. That puts Vancouver on the map.
Desmond Leflufy (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)
It’s a human right to see Satan with a boner close to where you live.
Linus Sundstrom (Gothenburg, Sweden)
There is still some hope for the statue.
Canada’s National Post reports of the Satan-With-An-Erection sculpture:
Apparently a number of people have expressed interest in acquiring the devil statue for themselves. You have to admit, it would be a great conversation piece at parties. Plus, it would make a great hat rack.
Meanwhile, in other e-mail news flooding to my InBox, my friend Lynn (who knows about such things) draws my attention to the fact that this week sees the first World Nomad Games in Kyrgyzstan (a country to which, embarrassingly, she has been and I have not).
Among other things, Kyrgyz and Tajikistan horsemen yesterday took part in the traditional Central Asian sport of Kok-Boru (goat dragging).
How dull Vancouver seems by comparison.