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Responding to the vandalism that marred the "Meditation" sculpture by Chinese Master Lei Yixin at Phalen Park, several groups came together on the evening of August 15th to begin the restoration. 

{audio}mp3/audioleisword.mp3{/audio} Audio message  from sculptor Lei Yixin

 

The evening began with an opportunity to view the sculpture in its damaged condition.  Shrouded by a tent, viewers proceeded in a quiet and respectful manner within to have a private experience with the sculpture.  Words and symbols of hate had been spray painted blue on all sides.  The sculpture had been wrapped in a plastic sheet since July 12th, when the vandals struck.  Now that nature of the damage was revealed, the impact was strong.  The otherwise reflective mood was only briefly interrupted by an insistent local TV camera person, who wanted to capture the sculpture's vandalized nature that was secured behind the tent walls.  After his persistence was rewarded and he had his shots, that crew left and really missed the soon to unfold ceremony of unity that next took place.

At a bit after 7:00pm, Marcus Young, artist in residence at the City of St. Paul and Romi Slowiak on behalf of Public Art St. Paul and East Side Arts Council initiated the ceremony at a nearby stage.  Attended by artists, a council member, a state senator, east side residents, Police Chief  and others, this became a celebration and an overwhelming affirmation that this sculpture is welcome and cared about.  Orange T-shirts were available to all who were will that described the wearer as a "sentinel" for the sculpture. Inspirational messages and songs from many community leaders and groups reinforced the outpouring of support for the sculpture and its place in the community.

Vandalized MeditationSt. Paul Police Chief Harrington, reported to the gathering that, regarding the vandalism, they had identified people of interest and had "visited" with them.  He also reported that Facebook and MySpace pages associated with these people of interest no longer contained any messages of hate which they previously had.

As the program came to the final act, 50 or more individuals traversed the stage, introduced themselves to the gathering and proceeded to the sculpture.  Each with a small piece of tape in hand, adhered it to a defaced portion of the sculpture, then peeled back removing the paint that wounded the sculpture, thus beginning the physical healing.

We are pleased to report that as of Thursday afternoon, August 21, the sculpture had been restored.  A final protective coating is to be applied to the surface to continue to help in the sculpture's protection. 

Here are some basic facts about the sculpture also provided by Public Art St. Paul. 

Title: Meditation
Artist: Lei Yixin of Changsha, China
Size: 7’6” high
Material: Dolomitic Limestone from the Biesanz Quarry in Winona.
The sculpture was created May-June, 2006 through the International Stone Carving Symposium: Minnesota Rocks!


About the Artist
Master Lei is considered a “national treasure” of China.  His sculptures are installed in public places and exhibited in museums throughout China, particularly in the City of Changsha, which is the capital of Hunan province and a sister city of Saint Paul.  Master Lei came to Minnesota Rocks through the efforts of the US China People’s Friendship Association of Minnesota.

Through Minnesota Rocks! he came to the attention of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Committee, which subsequently commissioned him to create the memorial’s central feature — a 30’ tall carved granite mountain with a heroic figure of King striding forth: “"With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope."

 

 

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CHINAINSIGHT (CI) is published monthly ((except July/August and November/December are combined) by China Insight, Inc., an independent, privately owned company started in 2001 and headquartered in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota.

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