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Queen Shamiram still needs a home
University refuses donated statue
A model of a proposed bronze statue of Assyrian Queen Shamiram shows the ancient ruler as a symbol of female empowerment, diversity, history, and art. - photo by Photo Courtesy of Erik Schulze

Queen Shamiram has been looking for a permanent Turlock home since 2007. Community members had hoped a donated 9-foot bronze statue of the ancient Assyrian ruler would be placed at California State University, Stanislaus, but the university said thanks, but no thanks.

“The discussion regarding the statue highlighted the need for a university policy and plan concerning artwork placement on campus. CSU Stanislaus will begin work on a policy this year, soliciting input from the community in its development,” said CSU Stanislaus Associate Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs Dave Tonelli said.

“We recognize the strong history of the Assyrian community in Turlock, and very much appreciate the offer of a 9-foot bronze statue of Assyrian Queen Shamiram.”

The news of the university's refusal to site the statue was not welcomed by some.

“It is a very expensive statue. It is a beautiful gift for our city,” said Turlock native Janet Jacob. “The university belongs to the people and we want students to know about the statue. We don’t want the statue to go to some place that no one will know about and no one will see.”

Turlock native Narsai David is donating the bronze statue of the first woman to rule an empire. David presented a model of the statue during one of the most well-attended Arts Commission meetings in the history of Turlock in January.

Queen Shamiram was chosen as a model for Turlock due to her strong historical background in the women’s movement and succession of power. The statue is intended to recognize great art, history, and women’s influence.

“The Queen is a model for women and young ladies because of her strength and power. She conquered the world; India and Armenia. This is a commitment to a queen in forgotten history, a history that women can relive again one more time,” Reverend Dr. George G. Shahbaz said.

Before Queen Shamiram can empower this generation of Turlock women, a site needs to be found. On Wednesday, the Turlock Parks and Recreation Commission chose two representatives to join a group from the Arts Commission to find possible locations for the statue.

Parks Commissioners Bella Daniel and Andrew Davoodian volunteered their help, and were charged with the duty of finding a suitable setting.

“I’m confident that Bella and Andrew will find a good location for the statue,” Parks Commission Chair Barney Gordon said.

 Many in attendance at the Parks Commission meeting seemed disgruntled by the long process of finding a site for the statue that began in 2007, to which Gordon replied, “Democracy has never been accused of going fast.”