Apr 06 2011

Statues of Michael erected across the world both build bridges and cause rifts

Category: Art,Friends,Photos,VideosSeven @ 10:42 pm

If you remember, a beautiful bronze statue of Michael was erected in China on the auspicious day of 01-11-11. This was an exciting event and warmed the hearts of many fans who want to see Michael remembered in this permanent way. The statue is magnificent and though it resides in China, many across the world celebrated this occasion.

Statue of Michael in China, erected 01-1-11

Statue of Michael in China, erected 01-1-11

In October of 2009, a copper statue of Michael was unveiled in Shan Yuan, Hong Kong. The statue was created by artist Alex To. As with the Chinese statue, Mr. Howard McCrary was on hand for the unveiling of the Hong Kong statue as well. In the video below, Howard McCrary entertains the guests and Ms. Genevieve Jackson addresses the crowd and unveils the statue of her uncle. It’s a very touching ceremony and the statue is very well done. Watching the video, it feels more like a family gathering than a gathering of people from all over the world.

And, you’ve no doubt heard the hubbub about the statue of Michael his dear friend Mohamed Al Fayed gratuitously placed at Craven Cottage. Some of Michael’s fans were pleased with this arrangement. Others were incensed that this is a terrible place for a statue of Michael, or have said it is a terrible likeness of Michael. Still others were simply concerned because of the vile resistance from some Fulham fans to having such a statue at their team’s club, and because of vandalism threatened by some.

However, like it or not, Mr. Al Fayed was a good friend of Michael’s and he wanted to honor his friend. Like it or not, he does have the money and the right to place a statue there if he likes since he owns the club. The statue was originally to be placed outside Harrod’s, but Al Fayed sold Harrods on 8 May 2010 to Qatar Holdings for £1.5 billion.

All concerns aside, one has to agree that Mr. Al Fayed’s heart is in the right place at least, even if the statue may not be in some opinions. Mr. Al Fayed already lost a son in that horrible accident years ago. The loss of both Princess Diana and Dodi stunned the world – Mr. Al Fayed and Michael especially. Could it be Michael was like a son to Mr. Al Fayed? He was at least a very dear friend. Maybe that’s why he misses him enough to erect a statue in his memory, regardless of what others may think.

Mr. AlFayed and the MJ Statue at Craven Cottage

Mr. Al Fayed and the MJ Statue at Craven Cottage

MJ statue at Craven Cottage

MJ statue at Craven Cottage

The people of Rio, where Michael made the video for ‘They Don’t Care About Us‘ have not forgotten Michael either. Though state authorities and a judge resisted Michael’s filming the video in Dona Marta because the abject poverty and human rights issues would then be exposed and might affect their tourist industry, the filming nonetheless went ahead. In fact to the contrary, the film’s being made there turned the place into a ‘model for social development‘ according to Billboard in 2009, and Michael had a lot to do with that.

It seems that something of this effect may continue, as a bronze-cast statue of Michael was just unveiled on Morro Santa Marta. Tiano Donato, intern at Catalytic Communities, says the statue will ‘help pave the road between slum and asphalt‘. Tiano Donato says:

The statue commemorates the late King of Pop’s visit in 1995 when he was present for the recording of “They Don’t Care About Us”. It was placed on the very concrete slab where Michael Jackson danced in front of hundreds of residents, for a scene in the video, along with a mosaic by Brazilian artist Romero Britto. . . It was alleged, also, that the producer Spike Lee had to negotiate with drug traffickers that controlled the community of Santa Marta at the time, to ensure Michael Jackson’s safety. The track was also the subject of more controversy in the US, where a second version of the video, which focused on the American incarcerated population, was banned from daytime airplay due to the violent footage in it.

In 2009 the track’s timely use, only days before Michael’s death, in a video denouncing the Iranian elections, brought over 30,000 views within days. Coincidentally, it is this video that CatComm uses to highlight the power and simplicity of social media in our social media course for grassroots leaders from across Rio.

Statue of Michael in Santa Marta

Life-size bronze Statue of Michael in Santa Marta

Tiano is hopeful about the possible social ‘bridging‘ effects of this statue and he also mentions that Santa Marta was a model for social improvement & development:

We at Catalytic Communities find the novelty exciting, as it amounts to one of Rio’s attractions, being located inside a favela (slum). The King of Pop is so well-liked that even Rio’s middle class families who have never set foot inside one of the city’s favelas may begin visiting this one (out of thousands) of poor neighborhoods that exist in their backyards. Even moreso now that a furnicular tram has been implemented on the hillside, along with green roofs and improved day care facilities, and a new policing strategy has successfully begun driving violent organized crime out of some of Rio’s favelas, of which Santa Marta was the first and the model (see the city-wide project’s own English-language website here).

In Cantagalo, a favela in Ipanema where community policing was implemented last November, the State has just launched an elevator which not only reduces residents’ need to climb endless steps past a dump, but which integrates the community with the Metro system, bureaucracy-alleviation services and several playgrounds. The State is also giving all residents title to their land and providing public housing within the community to residents who were moved in order to urbanize the neighborhood.

Our hope is that officials will continue to favour marginalized parts of the city with such projects, but never overlooking the inequality and social rifts that exist particularly in more distant parts of Rio, where the population’s most basic needs are still not covered by the State and the risk of forced evictions is very real. In terms of the social divide, however, a welcome approach is to boost interest in some areas overlooked by so-called formal society with such cultural landmarks as this, the Michael Jackson statue that many are itching to go look at.

Tiano mentions another bust statue that I’ve featured here before in a piece about the significance of the number ‘7’ and Michael. This bust is allegedly 3000 years old and was crafted by ancient Egyptians. Oddly though, it is the spitting image of Michael:

Old Egyptian bust - it's a spitting image of Michael Jackson

Old Egyptian bust - it's a spitting image of Michael Jackson

Yet another statue may have been placed in Letna Park the Czech Republic as well. Amidst protests there, officials gave the go-ahead for a life-sized bronze bust of Michael to be placed on the grounds of one of his mega-concerts in 1996 in the capital Prague, by August 29th, 2010 – in time for his 52nd birthday. I do not know if protesters were successful in halting the placement of this statue or not. Maybe readers can clue me in and even provide photos of the placed statue if any are available. I will update this post with the additional information if anyone has it.

UPDATE: In comments below Carla has said that due to opposition, the statue in Praque has still not been erected even though fans have already paid for it. The argument is that Michael was not a Czech citizen and has no connection to the Czech Republic. But of course he does. He was there and the connection with all the fans who love him is an emotional one.

Proposed bust of Michael to be placed in Letna Park, Praque

Proposed bust of Michael to be placed in Letna Park, Praque

Sketch of proposed statue in Prague

Sketch of proposed statue in Prague

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23 Responses to “Statues of Michael erected across the world both build bridges and cause rifts”

  1. Max says:

    This is a good piece. I love the Chinese statue. It flows quite well. The one in Santa Marta is beautiful, too. I wish we could have one, maybe in L.A. I’d surely donate toward it, and I’d want the Chinese artist to sculpt it.

  2. siu siu from Hong Kong says:

    I love the statue in China, very lifely and sweet. The one in Brazil is funny-look. Although Mr Al Fayed has a heart to honour Michael, but the statue is not good enough. Anyway thanks to all the people around the world to make tribute to Michael. I share with you the love.

    Thanks to Seven for posting.

  3. cjg says:

    I don’t believe any statue, no matter how great the artist, could truly capture the beauty of Michael Jackson. However, I think what is really important is the fact that all of these statues being erected to honor Michael is occurring internationally. That this is happening in such diverse cultures in the far reaches of the world (some locations people probably wouldn’t expect)is a true testament to who Michael was and what Michael was really about. Michael was an example of light, peace, and unconditional L.O.V.E. in the world.

  4. Julie says:

    And then you have the disgusting piece of trash of him holding Blanket which sits in a window of a recording studio in London and depicts the scene when he was at the balcony in Germany. I have to wonder how low classed these individuals are that they would do something so vile. The owner of the studio called it “beautiful.” It makes me so very sad that this is allowed.

  5. Yoly Leung says:

    I love all of these statues and the 3000-year old Egyptian one was really fascinated. How could it be an coincidence? If not, then why?

    At the end, it doesn’t matter which one is nicer or who is the best scupltor, it’s our hearts and love to carry on his legacy also to spread his messages of love to the world. I see this more important and hoep Michael would be proud …

  6. Seven says:

    Yes Julie that thing is hideous, disrespectful and ignorant. I’d hardly call it art. Of course I would not feature that one here! It has no merit except as testimony to how far humans can stoop to get attention for themselves. Shameful.

  7. Joyce says:

    Thanks Seven for this lovely post. The video clip from the unveiling of the Statue in Hong Kong is wonderful. It brought tears to my eyes to feel the presence of so much love for Michael. The little children dressed as angels were just adorable. Michael would have loved to hug each one of them! I love the quote from Michael’s “Dancing the Dream” that is beneath the gorgeous work of art by Alex To. He does an amazing job and looks so young in the video all decked out in his Michael Jackson Fedora and sparkly glove! The Statue that he did in China is also wonderful.
    I agree with you that what really matters with all of these artistic sculptures is the love and respect for Michael that inspired them. The less said about the shameful rubbish on display at that London recording studio the better!!
    I hope the sculpture in Prague is moving forward and the sad, uninformed protestors have been silenced. I couldn’t find anything about it either with a quick “Google” search.

  8. Carla Hibberd says:

    Hi Seven. the statue in Prague has not been erected as yet due to opposition. This is a sketch of the statue. We have recently featured statues on UK loves MJ. Of course there are the History statues which are still honoured by fans in Germany (2) Holland and South Africa with no opposition. http://www.facebook.com/pages/UK-loves-MJ/116222408446161#!/photo.php?fbid=141501152584953&set=a.122158921185843.20499.116222408446161&theater

  9. Carla Hibberd says:

    Apologies Seven, that link doesn’t take you to the photo.Sorry !! I also have another picture of another beautiful statue in Lake Canobie pleasure park in US but not sure how to get pictures to you, unless I post on wall !!

  10. Sina says:

    Kuddos to the people who resist the opposition that we sadly see too often whenever Michael is being honoured in public space.
    But when a twisted mind in desperate need of attention puts a sickening sculpture of Michael up their window, suddenly its called artistic freedom.

    I believe strongly that the best way to defend Michael is to counter uglines, negativity and ignorance with beauty , information and education and visible proof of Michaels greatnes in public places.
    I like all the statues but the Hong Kong statue most. The ceremony was touching and the flowers are stunning.
    Coincidentally, prior to this article I had sent in a comment about another memorial.
    In fact its a sad story that a memorial garden for Michael that would be created at the Museum of Dance -Dancehall of fame -the only museum of dance where the greats like Fred Astair are honoured, is probaly cancelled.
    A fangroup came up with the idea last year when Michael was inducted in the dancehall of fame and it would be funded with fandonations.
    The information was on the museums website for a while but is gone now and this week I got a refund of my donation.
    They did not respond to my email yet, but maybe a visitor here knows what happened. If I dont hear from them via mail I will give them a call.
    I love the idea of a garden, its unique and different from a statue that some will like and some wont. The museum is a beautiful sophisticated place where Michaels artistry will be remembered with due honour and dignity.
    As far as I know it would be the second only memorial for Michael in the US, next to the one in Gary.

    I really hope this is not cancelled completely and if its because of lack of funds, I hope many more people when they hear about it will support it so that it can be achieved. For Michael.

  11. Dialdancer says:

    It hurts me as an American to know that not one of the statues or memorial tributes in the form of a forest, library annex, a school of the art or museum named after Michael is reported about here. The only thing which did catch some attention and will assuredly draw more is the Premium Studio statue especially once it makes its way to California for exhibition. Come to America, we welcome diversity, just don’t pay any attention to the racist hypocrite behind the curtain pulling the strings.

  12. Dialdancer says:

    Seven,

    Do you know if the forest in Turkey was named after Michael? The plans were made in 2009. I believe the forest had been devastated and was to be re-seeded brought back to life. I theme was rebirth and renewal of the spirit.

  13. appleh says:

    Here in Germany there is except one provisional memorial place in Munich in front of the hotel “Bayerischer Hof”, where he stayed while beeing in the city, absolutely nothing. There has been a great controversy about this memorial and it allready has been destroyed one time ! Many people are against it because MJ in their opinion had not big relation to Munich. It has been reported, that the memorial will be removed next year by the city administration. The fans here try to get a new statue on another place at their own costs, but seem to have trouble to get a admission for it.

  14. Seven says:

    @Appleh,

    That’s so sad because he really loved Germany. I believe I’ve seen photos of that memorial – it’s kept up so nicely by fans.

  15. Seven says:

    @Carla,

    Thank you very much for the information. I was able to find the sketch and will add it to this article. I’m so sad to hear they won’t allow this gorgeous statue even when fans have already paid for it!

  16. ewburgess says:

    Seven thank you for the article on the statues honoring Michael around the world. While it warms my heart to see how the world accepted and loved our global icon Michael Joseph Jackson, the country of his origin’s actions saddens me. But let it be known that Michael Joseph Jackson has millions of American fans that love and miss him and will not rest until Michael receives the vindication and honor he deserves from his country of origin. The 3,000 year old statue is amazing in its likeness to Michael. I do not believe in coincidenes in relation to the oldest statue reported on, I believe in Providence. It has been said that coincidence is only God performing an action in hiding. For me, the statue only cements my belief that Michael was truly a gift from God and for God sending us Michael Joseph Jackson I am eternally grateful. I will use one of Michael’s favorites sayings, “That (He/Michael) is so beautiful, Thank you God.”

  17. carina for MJJ says:

    It is great that so many statues have sprung up in different places of the earth.
    Certainly there will be more and the ones rejected so far will find another location, like the one in Prague.These statues make a statement and are especially welcome at this time when murray´s lawyers no doubt will spew their poison.This will make them look lowminded and mean as they are.

  18. Monica says:

    There is a mural in LA just about a block from Staples Center. It was created by artist Rudy Martinez. 
    (Sorry don’t have a link for you now). I wish this would get more publicity. Sometimes I wonder where are all the MJ fans/supporters as I am going through my daily life. It’s kind of an empty feeling but that is why this site is so affirming. Here is a (funny) example: I went to a very unofficial MJ landmark this weekend. I found online the exact location of the main dance sequence in Thriller. We were so excited! At the exact moment of parking I turned to look at the spot where he stops to spin then holds his arm up…Thriller was playing on the stereo at that exact point and I could clearly see him in my mind. So coincidental, right? I’m off topic, sorry. There was a man there in his car watching us take photos. I then asked him (from the car) if he knew that this is THE spot where MJ danced for Thriller…He looked at me and politely replied, “I been sitting here all day and I haven’t seen nothing…” Well, I did some quick explaining and we left (not a super great neighborhood). Of course, I’m sure this isn’t a usual response, it just illustrates that any of these tributes, wherever they are, are reminders to those of us who love Michael that there are others out there who miss him too; unless I am online or talking to my family, I don’t encounter enough Michael out in the real world and I crave more. 
    I feel when our eyes see his likeness, our ears hear his voice or even when we say his name he lives again for that moment. That is one reason why these statues and places are so important. 
    Sorry I rambled…I just think about this so much;)

    Thank you Seven.

  19. SandyK says:

    Beautiful performance by Mr. McCrary and lovely ceremony in Hong Kong.

    The very fact that so many around the world want very much to have a visible and tangible memory of Michael is noteworthy in and of itself. He left an undeniably positve impression on people’s hearts the world over. I’ll never forget the immediate global response to his death. That response was deeply moving and took my breath away and of course that response is still echoing today almost 2 years later. Michael clearly will never be forgotten.

    As for the statues, my favorite so far is the one in China. Although it doesn’t entirely resemble Michael, I love it’s strength and optimism. As for the British statue, I admire Mr. Al Fayed’s intention. It’s not my favorite (a little too cartoonish) but it still warms my heart.

  20. Lisa MJJ1111 says:

    I miss Michael as each day, as each moment passes by..I feel so empty..I love going to your site, Seven because I do not feel so alone. I have never in my life felt this way, I have never in my life felt such a love for another human being..It hurts so bad..and I have never in my life felt such a love pouring out from another human being as I do Michael’s love..So hard to explain. All I know is that I think and breath Michael..I try so hard not too..It is very hard, for me..These memorials and rememberances of Michael from all over the world are awesome! Mihcael would be happy..But it is not enough, for me..I wished he was still here..Michael should not have died..Murder is not God, it is man. And I know Michael did not want to go, he had so much to share, so much life in him..I pray every day not to hate D. Murray and all the others who tortured my Angel..I do forgive them, for they are full of negative and evil energy..But at times I must try harder because they took away my greatest love..and I will always have a bitterness because of that fact. Thank you Seven for your love and dedication..I know you love Michael as I do..But it still hurts so bad, when will it end?

  21. Mado says:

    Seven thank you for your wonderful site and articles. I come here first thing in the morning and you make my day. I feel that Michael is here with us. Thank you once again.

  22. Karin says:

    Seven, thank you. I love them all.

    In every way, they honour Michael and he is worthy of it.

  23. Cate says:

    The love for one man, Michael Joseph Jackson, has brought so many people around the world together. The tributes are marvelous and warms the heart. To everyone around the world who loves Michael, you are my brother.

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