By Ka La staff
A well-known sculpture celebrating non-violence is coming to Honolulu Community College.
The sculpture by Swedish artist Carl Fredrik Reutersward is a large replica of a 45-caliber revolver which has had its barrel tied into a knot, making it clear that it can never be shot again.
School officials hope to have the sculpture, titled “Nonviolence,” erected on a still-to-be determined campus location by Dec. 8, the 30th anniversary of the assassination of singer and former Beatle John Lennon, to whom the original sculpture is dedicated.
Although the sculpture has been given to Hawaii and HCC in part because of the state’s tradition, it hasn’t come without controversy.
Several students and faculty members have suggested that the placement of a very large gun on campus, no matter how peaceful its intention, could send a wrong message to some who see it.
Others are worried that its placement in a prominent location near the school’s child day-care center could be hard to explain to keiki and their parents.
“I am about freedom of expression, but this is beyond bad taste,” said one student responding to a picture of the sculpture on HCC’s Facebook page. “I don’t want this image on my campus.”
Others have said that while the gun may make some people uncomfortable, that’s the point. The sculpture will be an ever-present reminder of the killings and injuries caused by handguns in America and the need to do something about that, they say.
A faculty committee has recommended putting the statute along the campus mall between the administration and science buildings. A final decision on where the sculpture will be located as not been made yet. Other sites under consideration are near the school cafeteria, between Buildings 2 and 7, and near the Berlin Wall and 9-11 memorials.
The original statute was created in 1980 and is placed on the grounds of the United Nations in New York City. Other replicas can be found in Lausanne, Switzerland, Berlin, German; Liverpool, UK; and Cape Town, South Africa.
Reutersward said he was so upset and angry over the death of his friend John Lennon that he went to his studio and immediately began working on the sculpture, which is widely known as “The Knotted Gun.”
This sculpture was brought to Hawaii through the work of the international Non-Violence Alliance and the efforts of state Rep. John Mizuno.
School officials hope an unveiling ceremony on the anniversary of Lennon’s assassination will be both a celebration of his life and work and the long tradition of peaceful efforts in Hawaii.