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Billboards showing gunman taking aim at Indian statue removed

Oct. 1, 2013 at 4:20 PM

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Oct. 1 (UPI) -- An artist's billboards in Kansas City, Mo., that showed a gunman aiming at the city's statue of an Indian scout have been removed.

The artist, A. Bitterman, rented the billboards himself after his work, named like the statue "The Scout," was rejected by the Missouri Bank, The Kansas City Star reported Monday. The work was originally commissioned by the bank's Crossroads "Artboards" program.

Bitterman rented two billboards from CBS Outdoors. The left-hand one shows a panorama of Kansas City with the words "Discover Kansas City," while the right-hand one shows a rifleman on a raised platform aiming at the statue.

The twin billboards went up Sept. 23 and were supposed to stay in place for a month.

Moses Brings Plenty of the Oglala Lakota nation and community outreach coordinator for the Kansas City Indian Center welcomed the decision to remove the billboards.

"I was very glad to see that," Brings Plenty said. "I did it for our children. Our common enemy is racism."

Bitterman denies the charge of racism. In an earlier statement, he called his work "a gesture in defense of the Native American."

"The one thing that can not be disputed in my image is the fact that the Scout is not an Indian at all, it is a depiction of an Indian, a sculpture, created by and for white culture, and it carries a historical narrative of what white people at the turn of the 20th century wanted the Indian to be," he said Monday. "The artist on the scaffolding is confronting that narrative."

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