VICTORIA PARK GARDENS, LONDON 25.1.11
As you cross Lambeth Bridge to go towards the Houses of Parliament, you pass Victoria Tower Gardens, at the moment inhabited by some large and lusty figures you wouldn’t want to meet on a dark night. They come from Mexico and cluster together in a circle, ten giant inscrutable figures cast in bronze, with a white and ochre patina, each one almost five metres high and weighing in at about a ton. A metal plate covers each mouth, ‘symbolising the importance of individual and collective freedom of expression’. The text on the notice nearby lists what that means. It sounds familiar: ‘freedom of the press, self- censorship, copyright, intellectual property, the flow of the Internet, human rights, public order and protests, and the gradual erosion of public space’.
The sculptures have already been displayed in Lisbon, Madrid, Brussels, Berlin and Rome as part of a European tour to celebrate the bicentenary of Mexican independence.Perhaps it’s not just a co- incidence that they’ve been sited close to the Buxton Memorial ,a sculpture with a fairly recent bicentenary of its own: the 1807 Act which ended trans-Atlantic slave trading.An over-the-top drinking fountain is a monument to Sir T Fowell Buxton for his part in the campaign which helped to bring about the 1833 Slavery Abolition Act. It is pretty and delicate, Gothic and exotic. ‘The spire is timber framed, and clad with enamelled sheet steel. Many different materials and decorative techniques are used, including grey and pink granite, limestone, grey and red sandstone, rosso marble enamelled metalwork, wrought iron, mosaic and terracotta’.
Nuestros Silencios also shares the Gardens with Rodin’s Burgers of Calais and a statue of Emmeline Pankhurst (1858 - 1928), each reminding us of our own struggle for dignity and equality.
Rivelino was the first Mexican artist to present a sculpture on this monumental scale in London. Now (9/2015) he is back in town again - in Trafalgar Square (see Blog 341)