Tonight, I was surfing my facebook in between things to do and a cigarette break and I came across a very disturbing status update by one of my dear artist friends here in Bemidji. She was informed today that her Beaver that she designed for the Bemidji Sculpture Walk Beaver Project was being removed because it was obscene and pornographic.
Last year, where my sculpture now sits was a beautiful sculpture that was molded of a males nude body. There was not fuss raised and it was not removed. Firstly, I will post the story behind Deborah Davis’s Beaver she designed and put all of her hard work into.
by Deborah A Davis
Gaea means Mother Earth and God is Gracious
That the fertile earth itself is female, nurturing mankind is a belief that crosses culture, time and borders. Gaea means Mother Earth. It also means “God is Gracious,” and is one of the 52 feminine aspects of God in the Christian Bible. Gaea in mythology was a female Titan. If we could embrace the strength of womaness, celebrate it, we would become the people we are meant to be: nuturing, loving, whole.
On a side note: While painting this, the gulf oil disaster occurred… and I couldn’t help thinking, if we could incorporate this… become less gluttoness and more sacrificial, the world would be more like the home it is meant to be for us and our children.
Photos by Amy Borden Nelson
I am not the one who has taken these photos. But, they are now the ones that I am using due to the pure and simple fact that the Beaver has been removed and is no longer up for photographing. I am utterly disgusted with the fact that the city has removed this Beaver. No art should be censored. That is why it is art. And why when it is regarding mother nature. I think that the artist story tells the entire piece and when I view the Beaver I could view the story that she has wrote. I became one with her piece.
If you are an artist or a citizen who is against this unfair decision and movement by the city council it is best to follow the below information that I have copy and pasted that I received in an email from the artist herself. I strongly urge whether you are a citizen of this city or even an artist in another area who is against art censorship to please voice your concerns.
A letter or email would be most effective to John Chatin at city hall 317 4th Street NW Bemidji. 759-3565 City attorney: Al Felix at same address 759-3575 A letter to The Pioneer (1320 Neilson Ave SE Bemidji) would also be beneficial, perhaps other organizations who help us stand for our rights and inform the public. We have had bare penis in sculpture(Mitch Blessings wonderful piece all last year for instance), but this is not the first time female ones have been removed or rejected. There’s something decidedly strange, unbalanced and wrong about this. Gaea was subtle, feminine, colorful, and well responded to by the majority. But a few sexist/and or vengeful folk with other than pure motives have made this celebration of the female aspect of diety and earth deemed pornographic. vengeful folk with other than pure motives have made this celebration of the female aspect of diety and earth as obscene.
I have also copy and pasted the merriam dictionary definition of the word pornographic.
Main Entry: por·nog·ra·phy
1 : the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement
2 : material (as books or a photograph) that depicts erotic behavior and is intended to cause sexual excitement
3 : the depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction <the pornography of violence
I spoke with John Chattin myself this morning. He wished to give no information and stated it was his decision to deem it inappropriate. He said that he made the decision himself and when I asked if it was only him who held the decision he stated that “we” talked about it. I questioned him as to who “we” was. I asked if it was the city council and he stated that they were his boss. I asked for information on what they felt was inappropriate of it and he wished to give no information and stated that we could attend the city council meeting in Bemidji on July 6th at 7:00 pm.
Please if anyone knows how to go about handling this or what organizations will help artists stand up for their rights; please send me an email with the information at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a terrible thing. No art should be censored.
Even if you are an artist and do not live in the area and are very upset about this: please write the Bemidji Pioneer or write a letter to the city council. The information with addresses or fax numbers was listed above.
Thank you so much. What a terrible tragedy.
Love, Peace and Friendship.