An employee of the New York City Parks Department starts to cover the Edward Snowden sculpture in Fort Greene Park. (Jeremy Cabalona / Vine)

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was monumentalized — albeit briefly — in Brooklyn on Monday. Unknown people working in secret installed a bust of Snowden in Fort Greene Park atop the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument. The sculpture was removed by park rangers at about 2 p.m. Monday.

The bronze-like sculpture had been placed atop a plinth constructed in honor of the more than 11,000 American prisoners of war who died on British ships during the American Revolutionary War.

In a statement to Mashable, a group that said it installed the sculpture described the location as “loaded with significance and meaning and reverence of others.” For the group, the bust positioned Snowden “as a continuation of a story that began at the beginning of this country,” referring to the captured Americans’ plight.

“We feel that Snowden’s actions really continue that story,” the group said. “It [Snowden’s course of action] is built upon a set of ideals to live freely, not be confined or surveilled or monitored by your government. You can’t have freedom of expression to pursue liberty if you feel like you’re doing it under a watchful eye.”

“It gives the whole thing so much more meaning,” the statement said. “It’s not just about Snowden. It’s about the ideals that he was trying to work towards and push others to care about.” The Revolutionary War prisoners were fighting for the same ideals that Snowden is fighting for, the group said.

“This is a guy who some of the traditional mass media has portrayed as a traitor, or a terrorist, and the very same thing would have been said about these POWs in the Revolutionary War times,” the group said. “But with 200 years of perspective, we realized they were fighting for something all of us are very grateful for. We hope it will shift people’s perceptions, or open their eyes, that there could be a different story than what they’ve been told.”

The statement said the group responsible for the bust was made up of three artists.

According to Mashable, the artists spent almost a year creating the “museum-quality” bust. The group’s statement said in part:

NYC has a long history of welcoming artists and the challenging discourse their works usher in. In keeping with this tradition, we hope New York will embrace and protect this piece, much as when the “Wall Street Bull” was granted a permanent public home after its guerilla placement. Even though it’s already on it’s way towards being removed, the possibility exists for the city to make the piece available for public viewing in a sanctioned way. Our additional hope is this gift has brought a renewed cultural relevance to the space, inspiring more visitors to ponder the sacrifices made for their freedoms and their responsibility to ensure our liberties last long into the future.

Below, a video on Vine by Jeremy Cabalona captures the New York City Parks Department covering the sculpture.

–Posted by Roisin Davis

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