Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Jerry Williams - The Balancing Act

In a context where gay rights are challenged in so many countries these days, today is a sculpture that was created in a similar context in a smaller town of the North West of USA, Springfield, in Oregon, during the mid 1990's by Jerry Williams. The sculpture is called 'The Balancing Act'. 

Several anti-gays laws were passed by the City Council, allowing discrimination on the work place etc. (See Sources, under Oregon Citizens Alliance). Below are some quotes from the text he sent me.

''The Oregon Legislature however prohibited such legislation several months later'' said the sculptor, who added ''Simultaneously, the city of Springfield was seeking a public work for the entrance to its City Hall and Public Library.  They did not specify the subject of the public art that would occupy a plaza next to the entrance stairway."

"My sculpture shown below won their art committee selection based on its whimsey of a gymnast doing a one handstand on the back of a Rhinoceros. The gymnast depicted in the statue is a gay man. The rhinoceros emerging out of the basalt is ignorance, short sightedness, and anger.The owl perched on the toe of the  gymnast is wisdom, and spirit. not unlike the owl in the ancient Greek Parthenon sitting on the shoulder of Athena."

'' The city of Springfield loves that sculpture,  honoring it as the vector for flowers after the massacre at Thurston High School in the late 90s. It is a signature icon on Springfield Art Walk, and images of it printed on brochures."

Jerry Williams website
Jerry Williams interview about his sculpture