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Senor Schnu Tackles Police Brutality at Monumenta, Leipzig 2018

Posted on September 4, 2018

Same as it ever was,” David Byrne from the Talking Heads might say.

The topic of police brutality keeps coming up every year, every decade, every week sometimes. Señor Schnu, the Street Artist/fine artist who created this new sculpture at the Monumenta exhibition in Leipzig, Germany tells us that the feedback he gets from visitors is that he must be talking about something they just saw in the news. “The truth is, this sculpture is always current.”

Senor Schnu. Monumenta Leipzig 2018. Leipzig, Germany. 09-2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The uniformed Polizei here are actually made of mannequins but look particularly life-like probably because Schnu broke the figure in multiple locations to reposition the limbs in more natural angles. Hearing that he “broke” the figure sends chills, as you can imagine being one of the people thrown to the ground by these armed people, your limbs pressed upon and even broken.

As Baby Boomers in the US commemorate 50 years since the 1968 Summer of Love, certain news reports are recalling the unbridled brutality of the Chicago police that summer against people protesting the Vietnam War. The youth were eventually vindicated by the 60,000 dead American kids and the millions of Vietnamese killed in what was revealed to be deceitful US leadership of generals and politicians . What many of those idealistic youth of the late 60s didn’t realize then was that when they reached their 70s the stories of new brutality against protestors and everyday people of color would still be in the news. Almost daily.

Senor Schnu. Monumenta Leipzig 2018. Leipzig, Germany. 09-2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Around Europe and the world you find the same right now in the news; Romania, Bucharest, Papua New Guinea, Nigeria, The Balkans, Turkey, Catalan..

It’s an ongoing debate as societies define what the role of police is in admittedly a sometimes unthankable unpredictable position; just how much power and weaponry they should have, how they are accountable, and to whom.

In the US a vocal activist and superstar athlete and football quarterback Colin Kaepernick has withstood criticism for protesting police brutality in particular and systemic racism in general in the US by kneeling at games during the national anthem. That story has taken a unusual twist this week with global sports brand NIKE announcing they have chosen him as a spokesman.

To be clear, the topic is not police. It is brutality. And art. And certainly it’s a contemporary theme here in Germany as well, but like artist Señor Schnu says, it isn’t new.

Senor Schnu. Monumenta Leipzig 2018. Leipzig, Germany. 09-2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Senor Schnu. Monumenta Leipzig 2018. Leipzig, Germany. 09-2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

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