Art exhibit in Alhambra offends some residents

China Aid Association
Art exhibit in Alhambra offends some residents
From the Associated Press
4:29 PM PST, February 17, 2007

ALHAMBRA, Calif. —
Several prints part of a City Hall art exhibit intended to commemorate Chinese New Year have offended some residents.
One of the silk-screen prints depicts George Washington next to Communist Party dictator Mao Zedong.

“I can’t believe I came to America to seek freedom, to see that hanging
in the City Hall lobby,” said Kai Chen, 51, a Los Angeles resident who
immigrated from China in 1981. “It is unbelievably politically
ignorant, politically insensitive to say the least.”

The print was taken down Thursday by the city clerk after receiving Chen’s complaint.
The exhibit’s organizer said the only criteria for the artwork was a tie-in with the Year of the Boar.
“To me it’s just an image,” Pinki Chen said. “We’re not for or against.”
The print, by artist Jeffery Ma, imposes Mao and Washington’s images
onto four piggy banks. Their images were chosen because their faces are
found on money, said Qing Nian Tang, an artist whose work is also in
the exhibit.

Two other pieces show the Red Army with pig’s heads, wielding paintbrushes and bayonets.
Four Chinese-American artists paid homage to Andy Warhol with about 30
prints in the exhibit, which is on display throughout the month of
February.

Mayor Stephen Sham, who was born in China, said he was not offended by the print.
“It’s an art exhibit — it’s not a history exhibit,” Sham said. “I think we have freedom of speech.”
Alhambra is 10 miles east of Los Angeles.


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