Mon, Mar 19, 2007 - Page 4 News List

Sculptor not bothered by statue move

RELOCATION A Chiang Kai-shek statue in front of Kaohsiung's cultural center was disassembled for transfer to join fellow artworks at a Tashi park

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The sculptor of a statue of late dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) that once sat in Kaohsiung City's Culture Center found the city government's removal of the statue "no problem," the Kaohsiung City Bureau of Cultural Affairs said yesterday.

"Sculptor Lin Mu-chuan (林木川) believes removal of the statue should not become an issue of political wrangling. He also hopes his works of art will not fall victim to more wrangling in the future," said a statement from the bureau yesterday.

The bureau issued the statement after its director-general, Wang Zhi-cheng (王志誠), paid a special visit to Lin, who lives in Taipei, in a bid to explain to him how the city government handled the removal of statue.

The city government broke up the statue for removal last Monday evening after it passed a draft bill to amend the Organic Regulations Concerning the Bureau of Cultural Affairs of the Kaohsiung City Government (高雄市政府文化局組織規程) on Monday morning.

The passage of the draft enabled the city government to not only rename its Chiang Kai-shek Culture Center but also to remove symbols of Chiang, including a huge statue sitting in the center's main hall.

Wang said Lin told him the way the bureau removed the statue was correct given the statue's size and weight.

The statue was divided into 79 pieces and not some 200 pieces as the Chinese-language United Daily News had alleged, Director-General of the Kaohsiung City Government's Information Department Hsiao Yu-cheng (蕭裕正) said.

With a great understanding of the work, Lin said that it should not be difficult to recombine the statue's segments, Wang said, adding that the artist also offered to assist in the recombination of the statue in Taoyuan, where the segments were moved.

"It is a different era now. Everyone should be treated fairly and enjoy mutual respect," the statement quoted Lin as saying. "Art works should be returned to suitable places for exhibition instead of becoming the focus of political wrangling."

Removal of the statue had created tensions between the police and pan-blue city councilors, legislators and supporters on Tuesday morning.

On Wednesday, the city government was not willing to say where the segmented statue was to be delivered. It was discovered later that the statue was sent to the CKS Statue Park in Tashi (大溪) Township, Taoyuan County late on Wednesday night.

The city government said on Thursday that the main hall of the culture center will be turned into a small exhibition hall.

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