An artist being called “the Banksy of Bulgaria” turned a Soviet-era statue into some of America’s great comic and corporate icons. Are socialist soldiers and Superman one and the same?
In 1944, ten years after socialist-led Russia invaded Bulgaria, Soviet leaders in the town of Sofia constructed a bronze statue of the Russian Red Army “liberating” the masses.
Sixty-seven years later, with the USSR defunct for over two decades and the Berlin Wall long gone, the Sofia statues stand as a reminder of a tumultuous political past. They also provide a perfect canvas for an anonymous artist being called the Banksy of Bulgaria.
He or she recently re-envisioned the Red Soldiers, replacing their colorless figures with paint-splashed American characters, including Captain America, Santa Claus, and Ronald McDonald, all of whom are led by the greatest symbol of the American way, Superman. Beneath the work reads the message, “Moving with the times.”
Sadly, the piece has already been washed clean.
Since the artist hasn’t released an explanatory statement about the short-lived exhibit, the public and press are left wondering what this art actually means.
Does this “Banksy of Bulgaria” want to celebrate America’s liberal democracy and international politicking, or does the altered statue stand as a testament to what the Joker — also part of the figurative cast — tells Harvey Dent in “The Dark Knight”: “You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain”?
The Joker theory seems the most logical: the United States was once seen as the world’s most heroic nation. As time went on, however, our seemingly noble policies became more closely associated with international colonialism than liberation, and we have in many ways become what Dent became: Two-Faced.
We cheer human rights, yet turn a blind eye when they are violated overseas. Unless we have a vested interest to intervene, of course.
Images via The Daily Mail.