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Director of Philadelphia organization focused on monuments to speak at Sacred Red Rock event

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A leader with an organization that documents monuments and their histories will share insight at an event in Lawrence, speaking in context of the Sacred Red Rock.

Hosted by the Iⁿ‘zhúje‘waxóbe / Sacred Red Rock Project, Paul Farber, co-founder and director of Monument Lab, will visit the University of Kansas campus this Friday. His presentation, “Telling the Full Story: Power and Presence in Public,” is in reference to the Sacred Red Rock’s return to the Kaw Nation.

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The massive red Siouxan quartzite boulder, formerly presented as a monument in Lawrence’s Robinson Park that honored mainly white settlers, holds historical, cultural and spiritual value to the Kaw Nation. After years of progress, it was removed from the park on Aug. 30 to start its journey to Allegawaho Memorial Heritage Park, located near Council Grove, Kansas.

Monument Lab is a nonprofit public art and history studio based in Philadelphia. It molds discussions, art and programming around past, present and future monuments.

Dave Loewenstein, local artist and project leadership team member, said project leaders had been in communication with Farber about visiting Philadelphia, or vice versa, for a while. Now they’re excited to be able to host him in Lawrence. 

Dave Loewenstein

Loewenstein said Farber will share insight into the impacts monuments have on communities. Through Farber’s talk, he’ll encourage Lawrence to think about those impacts in terms of the Sacred Red Rock and other local monuments.

“This is a great opportunity for our community to see the Iⁿ‘zhúje‘waxóbe / Sacred Red Rock Project in the context of what is happening with monuments nationwide,” Loewenstein said via email.

“We hope this will open our audience up to reconsidering how other monuments in our region represent and misrepresent the people, places and events in our histories and imaginations.”

Farber’s talk is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20 in Burge Union, Forum AB, at 1565 Irving Hill Road on KU’s campus. There will be a Q&A portion near the end.

The event is free to attend, and Loewenstein said the project team is working out arrangements to record the event for later viewing.

Molly Adams / Lawrence Times Straps hold the Sacred Red Rock in place as the truck carrying it heads west, Aug. 30, 2023.

More information on the Iⁿ‘zhúje‘waxóbe / Sacred Red Rock Project is available on its website, sacredredrock.com, and in the articles linked below.

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Maya Hodison (she/her), equity reporter, can be reached at mhodison (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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