Abe Abroad Revisited
Regular readers may recall that back in January I wrote about a Lincoln statue in Manchester, England. Well, it looks like the statue has had a remake.
As an article in the Manchester Evening News describes it, “On Lincoln’s head was a baseball cap while on the fingers of his hands gold rings spelled out the words ‘true’ and ‘yank’. A number of chains were hanging around his neck, one with the word ‘union’ in gold while another had a map of Africa attached to it. Mystery surrounds who has given the statue the makeover.”
BTW, I highly recommend checking out the article, mostly to read the comments section. One reader left the following insight:
“Am I the only one that thinks this is actually quite an intelligent piece of guerilla art? I mean, Lincoln was quite literally a “true Yank” - hence the four finger rings and the Yankees hat. The Africa pendant is symbolic of his role in fighting for the freedom of the slave population of America.
Adorning a statue of Lincoln in hip hop attire seems a way of passing comment on the crucial role he played in the history of the black communities in the USA, and how modern black culture has only been able to develop and assert itself thanks to the the actions of those many people like Lincoln who fought for more equality in that nation.
If the statue has been irrevocably altered, then maybe you would have a case for decrying vandalism, but I think that this piece of art might do a world of good in making people think more about the historical context of a hip hop culture that has spread around the globe like wildfire in the past couple of decades. Plus, if as citycentre says, this is part of an Urbis exhibition, presumably it has been done with the full consent of the Council, and with all appropriate measures taken to assure the statue is returned to its original state afterwards. “
The question of Lincoln & hip-hop is one that intrigues my colleague Nick, who splits his time between the Rosenbach and the online hip-hop journal Words Beats Life . Nick has been searching for rap & hip-hop lyrics that relate to Abe, so if anyone has any suggestions please add them in the comments field.