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Alachua County commissioners pick artist for West Lawn Sankofa stature

Alachua County commissioners pick artist for West Lawn Sankofa stature
Published: May. 24, 2022 at 6:18 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -A Sankofa statue will replace the empty west lawn outside of Alachua County’s administration building but the artist who county commissioners chose to build the statue is going back to the drawing board.

“I was kind of disappointed with the Sankofa bird really,” said Commissioner Chuck Chestnut.

Out of four finalists, George Gadson of Broward County got the closest as county commissioners searched for an artist to build a Sankofa statue in honor of Dr. Patricia Hilliard-Nunn. Some commissioners said the sketches from other finalists are too symbolic.

“But I think the more important point is regardless of who the artist is,” said Dr.Hilliard-Nunn’s husband, Kenneth Nunn. “I think it is significant to have an artist that comes out of the community but it’s not the only thing.”

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“The most important thing is to make sure this statue stands for what you all want it to stand for.”

Hilliard-Nunn’s family said Gadson’s interpretation is the closest representation of what they’re looking for to represent her memory. The project will cost the county $50,000 but the estimated total is at $75,000.

“[The] image of what a Sankofa bird is is something that is very widely known internationally, within the African American community, United States. I mean, people know what this is, and they’ll go and they’ll say well I guess that was supposed to be a Sankofa bird.”

Gadson received unanimous support to start the statue but is tasked to meet with the Nunn family to reimagine the Sankofa bird he sketched.

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