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Artist wants to remove Tommy Douglas statue
Lea Vivot, the sculptor who revealed her statue of former Saskatchewan premier and Canadian health-care founder Tommy Douglas to the public last week, is threatening to take it down.
The artist is considering taking the statue back to Scotland after attending its Sept. 10 unveiling in Weyburn, Sask., an event she says was turned into a “circus” by the attendance of Douglas’s grandson, actor Kiefer Sutherland.
Born in Scotland in 1904, the politician grew up in Winnipeg but spent most of his life in Saskatchewan, raising his family in Weyburn.
Sutherland’s appearance, Vivot told the Regina Leader-Post, turned the ceremony into a “publicity stunt” and took the focus off both her and Douglas’s achievements.
“To me, the unveiling of a sculpture is like a baptism of a child. You honour the art and the spirit of life of the one that the monument is dedicated to,” Vivot told the paper.
“It was never about me, and it was not supposed to be about Kiefer Sutherland,” she continued. “It was about Tommy Douglas, the people of Weyburn and the sculptor who made the piece and why. It was supposed to be inspiring, not a Hollywood circus.”
Vivot said she will decide in the next few days whether she is going to move the statue.
The Czech native, who now resides in Ontario, decided to dedicate a piece of art to the politician after having surgery and discovering that health care is free in Canada.
Having researched Douglas’s history, Vivot contacted the residents of his hometown and asked them to help her raise the $30,000 she needed to create the statue honouring his legacy.
“His contribution [to Canada] … was monumental,” Vivot told CBC News last week. “I wanted his legacy to go on, to somehow preserve it for future generations.”