California High School To Destroy 1936 Mural of George Washington that ‘Traumatizes Students’
A San Francisco High School wants to destroy an 1936 mural depicting George Washington because it “traumatizes students and community members.” The mural is made up of several panels, depicting the life of the First President. Fascinating is that the artist was a prominent Russian-American left-wing communist!
One of the “traumatizing’ images involves involves President Washington gesturing toward a group of explorers who are walking by a presumably deceased Native American.
Another depicts Washington next to several slaves performing various types of manual labor, a YouTube video (Below) of the murals shows.
But Fergus M. Bordewich, a historian, wrote in The Wall Street Journal that the intention of the artist was so show the reality:
The mural’s painter, Victor Arnautoff, was a protégé of Diego Rivera and a communist. He included those images not to glorify Washington, but rather to provoke a nuanced evaluation of his legacy. The scene with the dead Native American, for instance, calls attention to the price of “manifest destiny.” Arnautoff’s murals also portray the slaves with humanity and the several live Indians as vigorous and manly.
Arnautoff’s goal was to create murals that interpret ‘humanist themes’ by presenting art that relates to issues of class and power. He painted his murals with the purpose of provoking thought and to “challenge the naked eye.”
Officials say some of the artist’s historical depictions are offensive to Native Americans and blacks.
Obviously, the left has moved to the far left of Arnaitoff!
A San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) working group says the murals should be removed and put in storage to protect the students.
“SFUSD convened a ‘Reflection and Action Working Group’ that was comprised of members of the local Native American community, students, school representatives, district representatives, local artists and historians,” Laura Dudnick, spokeswoman for the district, wrote in an email to The College Fix. “At its conclusion the group voted and the majority recommended that the ‘Life of Washington’ mural be archived and removed because the mural does not represent SFUSD values,” the letter continued.
Some of the students from the school disagree with the idea of removing the mural and believe that it is an uncensored representation of history.
‘It’s not really racist,’ 17-year-old Amvinder Chauhan said. ‘It’s showing the actual history of George Washington when he first came here and colonized America—the Native Americans were getting killed so that we had more lands and he did have slaves on his farm.’
Another student Pavel Preyomyshev, 16, said that the mural depicts Washington as who he truly was.
‘One of the main reasons why it is controversial is because back in the 1930s when it was painted, George Washington was the saint of the people,’ he said. ‘I’ve talked to a bunch of students here and I honestly think that they agree it is the true depiction of history and that we all have to know who George Washington really was.’
As for now, the future of the mural is still very much up in the air.
‘The superintendent and staff are now reviewing the recommendation and considering the best course of action,’ said Dudnick. ‘At this time there hasn’t yet been any recommendation put forth before the SF Board of Education on this matter.’
Historian Fergus M. Bordewich told The College Fix that it is “a deeply wrongheaded habit to project today’s norms, values, ideals backwards in time to find our ancestors inevitably falling short.”
“It betrays a very troubling intolerance of art and the ambiguity of art and the aspirations of art,” he said. “It’s incredibly stupid if we try to erase history. It still happened, and you should argue about its meanings.”