With Donald Trump seemingly more concerned about the preservation of statues of Confederate generals and other dead white men than with the threat posed to the lives of the current citizens of the United States by the COVID-19 pandemic, a group of protestors has devised an ingeniously creative way to make their condemnations of the president reflect that hateful skewing of priorities.
Melding street theater, performance art, and scathing political rhetoric, the Trump Statue Initiative was created as “a way for artists to share their point of view on our 45th president’s most notoriously self-serving, narcissistic, and racist moments. And then memorialize his legacy in a way our president can truly relate: Realistic heroic statues.”
Rather than waste money actually constructing permanent monuments to Trump — which would likely be immediately defaced anyway — the Trump Statue Initiative unveiled three “Living Statues” at Freedom Plaza in Washington DC yesterday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony that included a violinist playing selections of popular music that have been banned by their creators from being played at Trump rallies.
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Using actors covered in a glittery golden-gilding to portray Trump, militarized federal forces, BLM victims and innocent children, the TSI likened their static street art to a “three-act play”.
The first act “immortalizes arguably President Trump’s darkest moment as President,” featuring a tableau of Trump holding an upside-down Bible while watching a federal troop beat a BLM demonstrator. The pedestal for the living statue is labeled “The Poser” and features Trump’s name and title with the descriptive legend “Destroyer of Civil Rights and Liberties.”
The second act of the imagined play is described as immortalizing “one of trump’s more cowardly moments and is appropriately titled “The Bunker.” Reenacted directly in front of Trump’s emolument-generating Washington DC hotel, it features a metallic Trump-substitute sitting cross-legged and clutching his teddy bear as he cowers in the White House basement.
The third — and so far final — living monument is entitled “Now Go Back To School” and is described by its creators as commemorating “how innocent children have once again become victims of Trump’s thirst for glory.”
The man behind conceiving the statues is two-time Oscar-nominated writer/director Bryan Buckley, but he is urging anyone with the interest and desire to create living statues of their own across the country.
“We’re hoping with this initiative, we will inspire other street performers, other artists to follow suit, whether across the country in swing states or conventions, that we really start to show these moments in statue form that show what we’ll be living with [if Trump wins reelection],” Buckley said, according to The Hill.
For the less artistically-inclined, an option to sign a petition to create a permanent version of “The Poser” is also available.
Either way, Buckley and TSI encourage every visitor to their web site to make sure that they are registered and that they vote in November so that any prospective statue of Donald Trump will be as much a memorial to an irrelevant and unrepentant racist as any monument to a Confederate general.
Kudos to the Trump Statue Initiative and Bryan Buckley for expanding the language of protest to include this uniquely timely, creative, and appropriate work of performance art.
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