The Earth Abideth For Ever
"The Earth Abideth For Ever" at Leicester Contemporary examines cancel culture and anti-Semitism in Britain through the figure of Simon De Montfort, one of Leicester’s most famous sons. Memorialised in an elegant stone sculpture on the Clock Tower in the city’s centre, and in the names of both De Montfort University and De Montfort Hall, his legacy is tainted by his expulsion, as the 6th Earl of Leicester, of the city’s Jewish community in 1231. He did this, in his own words, “for the good of my soul, and the souls of my ancestors and successors”.
How does such a polarizing character, who spent time as a Crusader in the Holy Land, remain relevant to Britain’s contemporary vision of itself? Should this monument be torn down?
A massive inflatable statue of De Montfort in the centre of the gallery, more than 4 metres tall, suggests a more practical way forward. An inflatable monument seems somehow more fitting for the times - it can be unplugged and removed if it offends contemporary sensibilities, and re-inflated when the political climate swings back in a more racist direction.