A couple of artists recruited some friends to make an unspoken declaration of support for “NSA whistleblower” Edward Snowden.
Yesterday morning (April 6), they installed a 100-pound bust of Edward Snowden on the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene Park, a statue memorializing soldiers who died during the Revolutionary War.
Snowden leaked information in 2013 exposing a far-reaching hidden surveillance program that allowed the National Security Agency to spy on unknowing American citizens and even some foreign residents. Opinion of him has been divided. Journalists and activists praise his heroism, while politicians and conservatives insist he’s a traitor.
Snowden is currently in exile in Moscow.
The two artists were the masterminds behind it all, recruiting a sculptor from the West Coast to create the four-foot-tall bust for them. None of them would reveal their names for obvious reasons, according to ANIMAL New York.
Snowden has said that he didn’t want to make the NSA leaks about himself. The artists are aware of that, but felt something needed to be done because the public has already forgotten about the scandal and Snowden is often shown as a criminal.
The pair wrote the following statement:
“Fort Greene’s Prison Ship Martyrs Monument is a memorial to American POWs who lost their lives during the Revolutionary War. We have updated this monument to highlight those who sacrifice their safety in the fight against modern-day tyrannies. It would be a dishonor to those memorialized here to not laud those who protect the ideals they fought for, as Edward Snowden has by bringing the NSA’s 4th-Amendment-violating surveillance programs to light. All too often, figures who strive to uphold these ideals have been cast as criminals rather than in bronze.
Our goal is to bring a renewed vitality to the space and prompt even more visitors to ponder the sacrifices made for their freedoms. We hope this inspires them to reflect upon the responsibility we all bear to ensure our liberties exist long into the future.”
The bust was designed with materials that allowed it to blend effortlessly into the monument it stood on, and a special adhesive was chosen so that it could be removed without damage to either object.
The Parks Department covered the sculpture with a tarp and removed it yesterday afternoon.