Now that surveying and debating the fates of Confederate monuments around the US has become a national pastime, an artist has proposed a spottieottiedopaliscious solution for one of the most egregious and seemingly immovable: add a bas relief of rap duo Outkast to Georgia’s Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial Carving. In a MoveOn.org petition that has racked up over 12,000 signatures and received Big Boi’s blessing — though his cohort Andre 3000, who’s presumably been busy with his solo exhibition at the SCAD Museum of Art, has yet to weigh in — Georgia-raised, Brooklyn-based artist Mack Williams is calling on the Georgia State Senate and Governor Nathan Deal to have the image of Outkast riding in a Cadillac (presumably blaring their album Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik) engraved alongside the existing image of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Stonewall Jackson on horseback.
“I was trying to think of something that unites the people of Georgia, specifically the metro Atlanta area, and Outkast is the obvious answer,” Williams told Hyperallergic over email. “Everyone loves Outkast. Everyone.”
The petition coincides with a call earlier this month from Francys Johnson, the president of the Georgia chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), to have the Confederate Memorial Carving sandblasted off the side of Stone Mountain, a rock outcropping some 15 miles east of Atlanta. The carving, the world’s largest bas relief sculpture, measures a massive 90 feet high and 190 feet wide. It was completed in 1972 after an on-again, off-again carving process that took 49 years. Since Dylann Roof murdered nine people in Charleston, South Carolina, last month, and subsequent investigations revealed his predilection for Confederate memorabilia and sites, the Stone Mountain carving has become one of the most high-profile targets in the nationwide movement to remove and/or recontextualize the countless Confederate monuments spread throughout the US. Rather than do away with the current image at the popular tourist destination, Williams’s proposal would rehabilitate it to be a monument both to the Confederacy and to the nation of Stankonia. Even if intended purely as satire, it’s an apt example of how artists can help us imagine alternatives to the antiquated and often offensive monuments we’ve inherited.
“I believe it’s important to recognize the history and heritage of all Georgians. However, the carving of Davis, Lee, and Jackson on the side of Stone Mountain only represents a small, regrettable time in the history of the Peach State,” he wrote on the petition site. “It’s high time we added a bit more of our history and culture to this monument. By no means do we wish to erase or destroy the current carving, which, regardless of its context, is an impressive and historic work of art. We simply wish to add new carvings, of Atlanta hip-hop duo Outkast, to the mountainside. There’s plenty of room.”
After all, even massive stone carvings need not remain unchanged forever, forever, forever ever, forever ever.
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