Statues and Empire (1)

As the late nineteenth-century and unexpectedly art nouveau civic statue of Edward Colston is fished out of the waters of Bristol’s harbour, awaiting an appropriate place to be displayed in a museum (few people have pointed out that Bristol Museum and Art Gallery already owns a smaller bronze version of it and the two maybe belong and should be shown together), I found the article below by Martin Kettle a thought-provoking discussion of the much bigger issue that the statue raises: that is, why the teaching of British history has tended to be entirely separate from the teaching of Imperial History (or at least it was in my time), how colonial history could and should be taught in schools, and how it is shown in museums. These strike me as being much bigger and more urgent issues than which other statues should be taken down: to change the way history is taught and seen.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jun/11/obsessing-over-statues-obscures-the-real-problem-britains-delusion-about-its-past?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_WordPress

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2 thoughts on “Statues and Empire (1)

  1. Shankar Kothapuram says:

    I agree, it important to have dialogue and that is missing..saying this is our history so lets accept it is a bit lazy. The idea of removing statues seems preposterous to some, but statues have been removed and places renamed in the past. For example the Lenin Statue from Holford Square.

    • It seems to me fairly obvious that some action should have been taken by Bristol City Council some time ago. And you’re right that statues have been relocated, and perhaps removed as well, in the past.

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