Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Open Philosophy

Editor-in-Chief: Harman, Graham


Covered by:
DOAJ - Directory of Open Access Journals
ERIH PLUS

Open Access
Online
ISSN
2543-8875
See all formats and pricing
More options …

How Public is Public Art? A Critical Discourse Analysis of the Racial Subtext of Public Monuments at Canada’s Pier 21

Patience Adamu / Deon Castello / Wendy Cukier
Published Online: 2019-07-11 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opphil-2019-0016

Abstract

Much of the literature on public space focuses on physical inclusion and exclusion rather than social inclusion or exclusion. In this paper, the implications of this are considered in the context of two monuments, The Volunteers/Les Bénévoles, and The Emigrant, located outside the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. These monuments, while perhaps designed to celebrate Canadian multiculturalism, can be read instead as signaling Canada’s enduring commitment to white supremacy, Eurocentricity and colonization, when viewed through the eyes of racialized immigrants. Thus the “public space” becomes exclusionary. In the context in which the monuments are situated, the racial subtext cannot be ignored. This article purports that images, text and placement, regardless of intention, have significant implications on public space and public demeanor.

Keywords: power; normalization; equality; monuments; race; identity

References

  • Barthes, Roland. Mythologies. Translated by Annette Lavers. New York: The Noonday Press. 1972.Google Scholar

  • Canada. “Women are Persons!” Canadian Heritage (2017). Retrieved on June 8, 2019 from: https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/services/art-monuments/monuments/women-are-persons.html

  • Carter, Chelsey R. “Racist Monuments are Killing Us.” Museum Anthropology 41:2 (2018), 139-141.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Davidson, Tania. “A Scout’s Life: English-Canadian Nostalgia, Colonialism and Aboriginality in Ottawa.” Journal of Canadian Studies 48:3 (2014), 108-132.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • De Gruchy, John W. Without apology: Faith, hope and love in a time of doubt, despair and violence. Woodstock, GA: Methodist Publishing House. 2016.Google Scholar

  • Deutsche, Rosalyn. “Art and Public Space: Questions of Democracy.” Social Text 33 (1992), 34-53.Google Scholar

  • Dube, Jacob. “Ryerson is discussing the possibility of removing the Egerton Ryerson statue.” The Eyeopener (April 2018). Retrieved from: https://theeyeopener.com/2018/04/ryerson-is-discussing-the-possibility-of-removing-the-egerton-ryerson-statue/

  • Essed, Philomena. Understanding Everyday Racism: An Interdisciplinary Theory. Newbury Park, London, New Delhi: Sage Publications Inc. 1991.Google Scholar

  • Fanon, Franz. Black Skin, White Masks. New York: Grove Press. 1952.Google Scholar

  • Ferdman, Bernardo M.; Avigdor, Avi; Braun, Deborah; Konkin, Jennifer; and Kuzmycz, Daniel. “Collective Experience of Inclusion, Diversity, and Performance in Work Groups.” Revista de Administração Mackenzie 11:3 (2010), 6-26Google Scholar

  • Ginty, Roger M. “The political use of symbols of accord and discord: Northern Ireland and South Africa.” Civil Wars 4:1 (2001), 1–21.Google Scholar

  • Harman, Graham. Immaterialism: Objects and Social Theory. Cambridge: Polity Press. 2016.Google Scholar

  • Heller, Ansley. “Breaking Down the Symbols: Reading the Events at Charlottesville Through A Post-Colonial Lens.” Southeastern Geographer 58:1 (2018), 35-38.Google Scholar

  • Hilton Moore, Marlene. “The Volunteers/Les Benevoles.” Women’s History Society Monument at Halifax Pier 21. 2017.Google Scholar

  • Jackson Lears, T.J. “The Concept of Cultural Hegemony: Problems and Possibilities,” The American Historical Review 90:3 (1985), 567-593.Google Scholar

  • Kamanzi, Brian. ““Rhodes Must Fall” – Decolonisation Symbolism – What is happening at UCT, South Africa?” The Post Colonialist (2015).Google Scholar

  • Karst, James. “The leaning tower of Lee: statue of Confederate general was encircled in controversy in 1953.” New Orleans, LA: The Times-Picayune (2017).Google Scholar

  • Keaton, Trica. “Au Negre Joyeux: Everyday Anti Blackness Guised as Public Art.” Journal of Contemporary African Art 38-39 (2016), 52-58.Google Scholar

  • Kingwell, Mark. “The Prison of “Public Space”.” Literary Review of Canada (April 2008).Google Scholar

  • Lehtinen, Sanna. “New Public Monuments: Urban Art and Everyday Aesthetic Experience.” Open Philosophy 2 (2019), 30-38.Google Scholar

  • Levine, Michael P. “Mediated Memories: The Politics of the Past.” Journal of the Theoretical Humanities 11:2 (2006),117-136.Google Scholar

  • Llorens, Hilda & Carrasquillo, Rosa E. “Sculpting Blackness: Representations of Black Puerto-Ricans in Public Art.” Visual Anthropology Review 24:2 (2008), 103-116.Google Scholar

  • Mashau, Thinandavha D. & Mangoedi, Leomile. “Faith communities, social exclusion, homelessness and disability: Transforming the margins in the City of Tshwane.” HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 71:3 (2015), 3088-3096.Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Milan, Anne & Tran, Kelly. “Blacks in Canada: A long history.” Canadian Social Trends (Spring 2004).Google Scholar

  • Miller, Frederick A. “Strategic Culture Change: The Door to Achieving High Performance and Inclusion” Public Personnel Management 27:2 (1998), 151-160.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Miller, Sonia. Aldo Rossi: The City as the Locus of Collective Memory and the Making of the Public City in Cold War Italy. Master’s Thesis in Art and Art History. 2017.Google Scholar

  • Nelson, Jennifer. Razing Africville: A Geography of Racism. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 2008.Google Scholar

  • Previl, Sean. “‘The Volunteers’: Halifax’s 1st monument to women depicts volunteer efforts during WWII.” Global News (March 9 2017). Retrieved on April 2, 2019 from: https://globalnews.ca/news/3298386/design-for-halifaxs-1st-monument-to-women-to-be-unveiled-today/

  • Resane, Kelebogile T. “Statues, symbols and signages: Monuments towards socio-political divisions, dominance and patriotism?” HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 74:4 (2018), 4895.Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Said, Edward. Orientalism. New York: New York Times Company. 1978.Google Scholar

  • Shore, Lynn M., Randel, Amy E., Chung, Beth G., Dean, Michelle A., Holcombe Ehrhart, K., and Singh, Gangaram. “Inclusion and Diversity in Work Groups: A Review and Model for Future Research.” Journal of Management 37:4 (2010), 1262-1289.Google Scholar

  • Slattery, Patrick. “Deconstructing Racism One Statue at a Time: Visual Culture Wars at Texas A&M University and the University of Texas at Austin.” Visual Arts Research 32:2 (2006), 28-31.Google Scholar

  • Walton, Kendall L. “Categories of Art.” The Philosophical Review 79:3 (1970), 334-367.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Willard, Mary Beth. “When Public Art Goes Bad: Two Competing Features of Public Art.” Open Philosophy 2 (2019), 1-9.Google Scholar

  • Windsor Mosaic. “Monument – Tower of Freedom.” African Canadian Community (2005). Retrieved on June 10, 2019 from: http://www.windsor-communities.com/african-sites-monument.php

  • Zorde, Izida. Constructing National History at Pier 21. Masters Thesis Database. 2001.Google Scholar

About the article

Received: 2019-04-30

Accepted: 2019-06-19

Published Online: 2019-07-11

Published in Print: 2019-01-01


Citation Information: Open Philosophy, Volume 2, Issue 1, Pages 126–136, ISSN (Online) 2543-8875, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opphil-2019-0016.

Export Citation

© 2019 Patience Adamu et al., published by De Gruyter Open. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Public License. BY 4.0

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in