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Rethink on ‘offensive’ city statue

LIVING MUSEUM: Councillor Jess Jennings with the Evans Memorial in Kings Parade. Photo: PHIL BLATCH 030416pbevans3
Nanjing Night Net

Bathurst’s Evans statue: Should it stay or should it go?BATHURST councillor Jess Jennings, who last week suggested removing the statue from the Evans Memorial in Kings Parade because of its offensive nature, is today seeing things in a different light.

As comments in favour of keeping the statue where it is pour in, Cr Jennings said information he has received from local historians regarding the origin of the Evans sculpture has shown that it was considered quite socially progressive and inclusive at the time. This is born out by the fact that an Aboriginal figure was included at all, he said.

Cr Jennings said the Aboriginal man was deliberately positioned on the same main plinth, level with Evans, which is above two otherfigures representing agriculture and likely geography (represented by the woman).

“The Aboriginal figure is carefully positioned with his back facing Evans, which is likely a symbolic artistic gesture indicating the independence, rather than subjugation, of the Aboriginal man,” he said.

“It seems a hopeful optimism is conveyed by the artist, with the two figures from different cultures sharing the same line of vision over the inland plains.”

However, Cr Jennings said there should be comprehensive consultation with the local Aboriginal community about any new signage to accurately convey the harsh realities their people endured under European settlement.

“Our town of Bathurst is a living museum and this monument typifies that, but it needs extremely good explanation because any reasonable current-day interpretation can become very negative very quickly, which ultimately doesn’t help anyone,” he said.

“A high-quality explanatory sign that contextualises the Evans monument is needed at the very least, and as soon as possible.

“I have written to Bathurst Regional Council staff requesting a budget provision of $8000 to deliver well-researched and attractive explanatory signage in the 2016-17 annual operating plan.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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