A memorial in iron by a controversial Mullinville artist was vandalized in a deliberate manner, Monday night, days after he purchased the land and installed the sculptures.
Update: By Wednesday afternoon, the day this article appeared in print, the sculptures had been set upright, M.T. Liggett said.
MULLINVILLE — Within days of purchasing and installing a memorial for his family's war dead tracing back to the Revolutionary War, vandals toppled all but the heaviest of artist M.T Liggett's sculptures installed on his Main Street property, he said.
Weighing between 600 pounds and 700 pounds each, the sculptures made from machinery parts and resembling wheeled artillery pieces are another casualty in his 25-year conflict with people who disagree with his art and his point of view, Liggett said.
Liggett purchased the property north of the Mullinville Post Office on June 12, half a block from the Kiowa County Veterans Memorial on U.S. Route 400. Over the weekend he transferred the monuments to his new acquisition. Some carry signs declaring "Killed in Vietnam" and "Killed in Iraq."
He discovered the turned-over sculptures Tuesday morning. "I'm not angry. I don't get angry — but I am disappointed," he added quietly.
"One of those guys was my son."
It's not the first time his welded creations, especially the ones that express a convention-defying political viewpoint, have brought scorn. A sign he built that says "Love lesbians, Jesus did" had been spray painted with epithets previously, he said.
He said he supports gay marriage because "It's none of my business" what people do which not a popular point of view, he said. A sign at his workshop extolled private property rights regardless of what the U.S. Postal Service had to say about it.
"They're never going to give up," Liggett said, condemning the critics who would sneak onto his property at night to damage his work. If they have issue with him or his work, he would prefer they come to him directly.
The folk artist has no intention of righting the sculptures. "They'll lay like that until I die."
The afternoon after discovering the vandalism, Liggett was in his shop welding, working through a heat that kissed triple digit temperatures. His freedom of speech will not by silenced, he said.
"A man's not remembered by the words he didn't say."