Artist-activists place anti-racist sculpture in front of Baltimore Lee-Jackson monument

This evening around 7 p.m., a pickup truck carrying a large sculpture, approximately 10 feet tall, of a black woman with a pregnant belly, fist raised, parked on Art Museum Drive and a group of 10, including artist Pablo Machioli and activist Owen Silverman Andrews, placed it in front of the Lee-Jackson Memorial in Wyman Park Dell. Once the sculpture was propped up, it was unwrapped and flowers and candles were placed at its base and the group took turns writing messages on the base in marker.

Silverman Andrews made some brief statements about why this monument was specifically chosen, noting that it depicts two generals and is "meant to induce fear" and represent "white power." He added that it was not created following the war but in 1948, many years after the war, and is quite separate from monuments built to honor the fallen and defeated soldiers of the Confederacy. It was also chosen, Machioli explained, because of its proximity to the Baltimore Museum of Art and Silverman Andrews added that in part, it was a way to call attention to how often the city arts funding goes to white artists instead of black artists.

City Paper first heard about plans for such an action back in July at a West Family gathering for the second anniversary of Tyrone West's death in the custody of the police. There, Silverman Andrews mentioned to City Paper his plans to potentially replace the Lee-Jackson Monument and revealed a small sketch which depicted Harriet Tubman hand in the air, gripping a brick. This plan began following "the Charleston terrorist attack on an African-American church," in June, Silverman Andrews told City Paper tonight. Machioli—whose hand-shaped signs made appearances during the Freddie Gray protests and who painted one of the protest murals in Sandtown—was introduced to Silverman Andrews through a mutual friend and the two began planning the action "to create attention" surrounding issues related to white supremacy, racism in art, and the Baltimore Uprising.

The statue, which took about two months to construct, doesn't have a title, Machioli told City Paper, adding that it wasn't up to him to name it. It's made of "scrap material and newspapers," Machioli says, adding that a lot of City Paper issues were gathered to construct the sculpture.

This morning, the second meeting of the Commission to Review Baltimore's Public Confederate Monuments was held at City Hall.

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