–by Don Kennon
The impressive statue of Rosa Parks unveiled last week in the U.S. Capitol’s National Statuary Hall is the result of a unique partnership of art and history by the firm, Daub & Firmin Studios of Kensington, California, that produced the statue.
The firm’s two principals, Eugene Daub and Rob Firmin, combine the talents of sculptor and historian. Daub is an award winning sculptor with more than 30 years of experience producing public art. His partner, Rob Firmin, is also a sculptor, but his degrees in history and art history bring the firm a strong grounding in historical research. In addition, Firmin’s MBA and his experience as a business entrepreneur provide expert project guidance.
Before developing a concept for a sculpture, the firm does extensive historical research on the subject, not simply to insure historical accuracy but also to capture the subject’s historical import. When the firm was awarded the commission for the Rosa Parks statue in 2009, Firmin observed, “our extensive research into her life, as part of this national competition, has deepened our respect immeasurably.” “Our composition,” he continued, “reflects her courage, her years of suffering from and witness of horrific discrimination, and the fact that her action was built upon centuries of African American resistance, first to slavery, then to Jim Crow.”
The firm’s web site explains what it sought to create with the Parks statue:
It seems almost everyone knows that Rosa Parks refused to relinquish her bus seat for a white person, but it was a more complex story. Her action vitalized the movement because her impeccable character and supreme dignity made her the right person at the right time. She was not put up to the action by anyone. She did not do it because she was tired. We wanted to capture her character and the character of the historic moment. The background evokes centuries of resistance and the solid support of millions.