What You Don’t Want to Hear

Copyright 2016, Public Art of Toronto. All rights reserved.

Freedom of Expression, 2012
Located: McMurtry Gardens of Justice (361 University Avenue)
Artist: Marlene Hilton Moore
Website: http://www.marlenehiltonmoore.com
Contact: marlenehiltonmoore@gmail.com
Copyright 2016, Public Art of Toronto. All rights reserved.

The look on Freedom of Expression’s face is beatific; she is completely at ease sharing her thoughts, which is as it should be. In Canada, freedom of expression is one of the most misunderstood rights we have. It does not mean that we can say whatever we want, free of consequence. It means that the government cannot prosecute us for those words. It can hold us accountable for untruths or if we use those words incite illegal acts, but the words themselves are not enough. It’s a very, very fine line, one that continues to be defined.

I find this piece to be very comforting. Moore has created a very matronly figure, one that would be at ease with baking cookies as she would stumping for a local politician. She’s unadorned as the best truths are, and those are usually the most threatening to our world view. But we don’t feel threatened by The Freedom of Expression, and we shouldn’t be threatened by her words.

Uncomfortable maybe, but never threatened.

*The title of this piece is based on a quote by George Orwell: “Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

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