Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Memorial - Angel of Victory

Talking about memorials in public space and our interactions with them, I remembered to be in possession of this photograph (as a postcard):

N.B. I apologize for the low quality. I have not used a scanner in years and could not really get the technology to function for me.

Taken by Vancouver photographer and artist Lincoln Clarkes, this photo is titled, Solider, Angel and Man, Vancouver 1986. Lincoln Clarkes has been slowly archiving his photos digitally, so I tried to look for the story behind this particular shot on his blog, but could not find anything. So, my thoughts are simply based on our recent class discussions around public space and memorials. The memorial is located on W Cordova between Seymour and Richards (near Steamworks).

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This particular monument is sculpture that depicts an angel carrying a dead soldier and is to commemorate the lives lost in World War I. One of three identical statues commissioned by the CPR to honour those who fought in the war (the other two are located in Winnipeg and Montreal). In the picture, you can see that the angel is holding a full wreath in her upraised hand (in more recent pictures, that wreath is gone). After WWII, dates of that war were added to the monument's plaque.

What is interesting to note about this photograph is the way the unknown man is interacting with the memorial. Is it disrespectful to climb atop the bronze figures or is it perhaps appropriation of the object for man's own use? Does it take away the meaning of the memorial? Why is he even up there? Like our class discussions about the Air India memorial (with regards to the designated seating benches), is there an appropriate way to interact with a monument? I see this photo as an example of the tensions between people, public space and memorials.

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