Capilano University seizes instructor’s sculpture of president with poodle
It’s a work in progress: Capilano University president Kris Bulcroft wrapped in a U.S. flag, with a poodle, and all.
But it’s gone, and its creator, George Rammell, a CapU instructor of sculpture, wants the piece returned.
“It’s ridiculous!” Rammell told the Straight by phone today (May 12) about the seizure of his work from the university grounds.
“I mean, we live in Canada for God’s sakes,” Rammell continued. “We’re not living in China or Iran.”
In a news release, Rammell said that he discovered the unfinished sculpture titled Blathering on in Krisendom gone from CapU’s sculpture area last Wednesday (May 7).
“I immediately called security and the guard told me that orders were given by the top level of the Administration to seize it. I could hardly believe my ears. The Administration had ordered my piece removed off campus to an undisclosed location, without any consultation or prior discussion. I was shocked and not sure if this was Canada,” Rammell stated in the release.
He continued: “I called the RCMP to report the theft. The officer arrived and he said he had been talking to Administration: they had asked him if they would be liable if they destroyed the sculpture. They were making assumptions (with the aid of their lawyer), believing they owned the work because it was made on university property. They are concerned that if returned to me I’d continue to exhibit it.
“Last May President Bulcroft held a public forum where she asked everyone to forgive her violations of process and follow her into the future. She denounced my effigy as sexist, misogynist bullying. But several faculty members who teach Woman’s Studies didn’t see anything sexist about the piece whatsoever. In fact they chastised the President’s attempts to gain sympathy in such a manner.
“I started the project at the request of a faculty member and I had the financial support of my Faculty Association.
“I recently showed Blathering on in Krisendom at the Gordon Smith Gallery of Canadian Art, and in a solo show in the Studio Art Gallery at Cap U, but I don’t consider the piece finished. As with much of my work it’s continuing to evolve. I now want my sculpture returned immediately so I can continue sculpting it. I have other exhibition intentions for this on-going project. I see the Administration’s illegal seizure as part of their ongoing assumption that they can ignore the basic rights of employees and ignore their responsibilities to consult. The BC Supreme Court ruled in favor of our faculty’s position that the university violated the University Act in making unilateral cuts to Programs. These art Programs carry a legacy across the country and will be impossible to replace.”
On the phone, Rammell explained that Bulcroft was brought in from the U.S. to head CapU, hence the American flag in the sculpture. He added that some of Bulcroft’s promotional materials show her with a poodle.
Brita Harrison Brooke, manager of stakeholder relations for CapU, didn’t have an immediate comment. Brooke wrote the Straight to say that the university’s vice president for finance and administration, Cindy Turner, will be speaking to Rammell.