Sunday, January 22, 2023



I was wondering what to post for the next Bytes when, within minutes of each other, I received two suggestions, a third suggestion coming in a little later.  The third contribution is from Byter John P and I will post tomorrow what he sent me.

The first came from Sue P, about an amazing crocodile sculpture, followed by an enquiry from son Thomas on whether I would be posting a Bytes item on the NLK sculpture. Thanks Sue, Thomas and John.

Both Sue's and Thomas's suggestions are covered below.

Caution: risqué content ahead.


Sue sent me an email:
Hi Otto
Here's one that I think you will enjoy
Regards, Sue

Thanks Sue

  • The above link is to the website My Modern Met which, according to the site, celebrates creativity by posting articles and material on art, design, photography, architecture, science, technology, environmental issues, and more. It has over 5 million visitors per month.
  • Sue’s link is to an article “Woodworker Spends 100 Hours Carving a Crocodile Emerging from Wood Bar Top” and dates from November 29, 2022.
  • Chainsaw artist Scott Dow, from Pennsylvania, decided to carve a bar top of a crocodile emerging from water. Made from local catalpa, he was inspired by seeing a carved fish emerging from water. Small would have been easier but he decided to go big and spent over 100 hours on his creation.

  • The following photographs show the piece taking shape and the final result . . .

  • Some more of Scott Dow’s work, photos from his facebook page:


MLK Memorial Statue:

The Martin Luther King memorial statue is the subject of current controversy. 

Here are some facts and comments:
  • The statue is called The Embrace and depicts two pairs of arms wrapped in a hug. It is taken from a photograph of Martin Luther King Jr and his wife, Coretta Scott King, embracing after he received news of the 1964 announcement that King had won the Nobel Peace Prize.

That statue

Another view of the statue and the photograph from which the detail of the statue has been taken

  • It is a bronze sculpture by Hank Willis Thomas, installed on Boston Common in Boston, Massachusetts, is 20-foot tall (6.1 m) and 25-foot wide (7.6 m) bronze and weighs 19 tons. It was formally dedicated on January 13, 2023, with dignitaries present, along with the Kings' son and one of their granddaughters.
  • It depicts four intertwined arms and hands, details including buttons on the sleeves of his arms, and a bracelet on her wrist. The work was created by welding together nearly 609 smaller pieces.
  • The sculpture design is intended to emphasize the Kings' commitment to nonviolence and the importance of love as a motivating factor in their civil rights movement work.
  • The sculpture was installed near where King led 22,000 people at a 1965 Freedom Rally – on land that was once part of a black neighborhood, now gone, that had been one of the oldest in the country. The significance wasn’t lost on guests at the unveiling, who included participants in the civil rights movement, some nearly 100 years old. Kings’ son, Martin Luther King III, told CNN that the “artist did a great job”.
  • Nonetheless the piece has been widely panned by critics, the public, and at least one member of the extended Scott-King family. According to some, photographs taken from certain angles made one of the civil rights leaders’ arms look like a penis. The comedian Leslie Jones joked that the sculpture looked like the late civil rights leader performing a sex act on his wife.

  • If this was just about an optical illusion, the story might have ended there. But the conflict almost immediately took a political turn after the sculpture was blasted by an unexpected source: the Oakland activist Seneca Scott, a former Bay Area labor organizer and a cousin of Coretta Scott King. In a short essay published in Compact magazine the morning after the unveiling, Scott highlighted the phallic comparisons before calling the sculpture an “egregious example of the woke machine’s callousness and vanity” that would bring “few, if any, tangible benefits to struggling black families”. Statues like these, he added, “are part of the same performative altruism and purity pageants that are mainstays of the woke left”.
  • In an interview with Tucker Carlson he accused the sculpture of wasting public funds and mocking people struggling to afford groceries. “That’s exactly right,” Carlson replied. “It’s not art, it’s a middle finger.”
  • According to the sculptor, Hank Willis Thomas, “It’s a strange thing, the moment that we live in, that we are more inspired to talk about silly things than something as serious as the legacy of Dr Martin Luther King.” He also commented “Conservative and liberal are reductive terms that are divide-and-conquer strategies, and that’s part of the issue this piece is addressing – that is, can we embrace one another?” He declined to respond to Scott: “I don’t feel like it other than sending Seneca love and gratitude for highlighting The Embrace.”

Sculptor Hank Willis Thomas poses under the Martin Luther King Jr memorial statue.
  • Imari Paris Jeffries, the director of Embrace Boston, the non-profit formed in 2018 to fund the statue, said the artwork was fully paid for by private donations, not taxpayer money. Their goal was to not only use the sculpture as a visual reminder of justice, but as a catalyst for concrete local change: since 2020, the group has distributed $1m to the Twelfth Baptist church, the historic abolitionist church where the Kings met and a relief center during the pandemic; $370,000 in grants to dozens of community non-profits and social justice efforts; and $25,000 to groups organizing Juneteenth activities – with more giving planned in the future.
  • As for the backlash to the statue, “I’m not bothered by it,” he said. “We expected as activists and organizers that there’s always going to be detractors from the movement. I think about Mrs King’s quote, that the beloved community is about not holding bitterness when there’s disagreement.”

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