Berlin’s Görlitzer Park will be the site of a new statue, erected in the honor of the Arican Drug Dealer and their place amongst the city’s cultural landscape.
Presented by the Berlin-based American artist Scott Holmquist, and now backed by the German political establishment, the project was pitched as, “Drug dealers perform a socially valuable service appreciated by many people – especially where they are easily reached, in the middle of the neighbourhood, and especially in parks,” going on to discuss the terms within a post colonial context with, “establishing a monument to the African-immigrant park drug dealer would recognize contribution of this dangerous job in the ongoing fight against the heritage of colonialism and for individual’s freedom to control their body,”
As one could surely anticipate, the project has been controversial, with the artist receiving a slew of online criticism, mostly from those who have lost family members to the hands of drug addiction. Holmquist counters this by claiming the statue would a wider discussion around Görlitzer Park, expanding the debate beyond simple criminality. So far, the left leaning Pirate Party, to whom Holmquist is a supporter and initially addressed his petition, have publicly backed the project, providing some hope Holmquist could set a 2017 completion date.
For those who are unaware, the area surrounding Görlitzer Park is one of the most problematic in all of Berlin, with frequent police raids and some 500 ongoing drug-related investigations. Whether or not the form of the statue will take shape the way Holmquist originally envisioned it is yet to be seen, although those prospects don’t look very good as Pirate Party spokesperson Felix Just told artNet News: “I’m afraid this proposal doesn’t have particularly good prospects to be accepted because the politics and policy on drugs and addiction in Germany is unfortunately still very tense and are largely characterized by unfounded fears,” he said. “We still look forward to the debate on this subject,” but Holmquist states that, with or without the backing of the city, he will erect the statue even if just temporary.
Let’s see what happens…