Residents slam Coventry council over new £ 250,000 statue of African-American actor who looks like ‘a Flava Flav android giving a Nazi salute’
- A steel statue erected in Coventry in honor of former actor Ida Frederck Aldridge
- 19th-century African-American theater director fought for abolition in UK
- The new installation includes the mesh wiring of a person holding a giant watch
- But stunned local residents have revealed their disappointment with the sculpture
- One of them went so far as to compare him to the American rapper “Flava Flav giving a Nazi salute”
Disgruntled residents have compared a new £ 250,000 statue erected at a former Ikea construction site to “a Flava Flav android giving a Nazi salute”.
The life-size steel sculpture was built in honor of 19th-century African-American Shakespearean actor Ira Frederick Aldridge, who wowed stages across Europe with his abolitionist roles.
The installation, which was intended as a way to “connect with the history of the city, was placed on the roof of the former Ikea store in Coventry, which has been named the UK’s City of Culture for 2021 “.
The controversial statue was unveiled this week after artist Favor Jonathan was crowned the winner of Sky Arts TV’s seven-part series Landmark, which pitted sculptors against each other in a bid to see who could create a new national monument.
But residents have taken to social media to demand that he be removed, saying his outstretched arm, which holds a giant pocket watch, looks more like a famous American rapper “performing a Nazi salute.”
A controversial statue holding a giant watch was unveiled this week at the site of the former Ikea building in Coventry, West Midlands
But stunned residents criticized the structure’s actual design, comparing the statue to American rap icon Flava Flav instead (pictured in 2014)
The original inspiration for the steel sculpture came from actor Ira Frederick Aldrige – who became the first African American to run a British theater after being appointed head of the Coventry Theater at the age of 20.
Local union adviser David Welsh, who oversees arts and culture in the city, has previously said he hopes the new artwork will eventually become a “popular tourist attraction” in the city.
But stunned residents criticized the structure’s actual design, comparing the statue to American rap icon Flava Flav instead.
William Jonathan Drayton Jr, 62, known by his stage name Flava Flav, co-founded rap group Public Enemy in 1985 and was recognizable by an oversized watch he would wear as a chain.
Writing on Facebook, Chris Girvin said: “Why did you put an android Flava Flav doing a Nazi salute on IKEA?”
Carl Hunter added, “Global pandemic. Costs are rising for everything. People are losing their jobs.
“Council and income tax goes up, and you’re wasting £ 250,000 on a tiny, cheesy-looking statue on an empty building. “
The life-size steel sculpture was built in honor of 19th-century African-American Shakespearean actor Ira Frederick Aldridge – who wowed stages across Europe with his abolitionist roles
Meanwhile, Kyle Armor wrote: “£ 250,000 for something that looks like it’s out of B&M. The junkyard will be on it by the weekend.
Others writing online revealed that they had a more positive first impression of the statue.
Jim Clifford wrote: “Great idea, this is another example of the types of investments in Coventry for the next generation. Art is such an important and underrated part of everyday life.
“It’s great that a great organization like Sky thinks Coventry deserves to be featured.”
Ikea operated from the iconic Coventry store from 2007, but closed the branch last year, blaming ‘lazy shoppers’.
Coventry City Council had agreed to transform the blue and yellow building into a national collections center showcasing art and heritage.