View Full Version : The sculpture of the man rolling the ball up an inclined track---details?

Joe Kimball
12-04-2008, 11:01 AM
I wonder if any of you all can tell me any details (or where to find the same) of the sculpture described in the subject that resides by the canal?

12-04-2008, 11:45 AM
I believe there is a plaque near the statue described telling about the name/history of it.

12-04-2008, 12:16 PM
There's no plaque (there should be) but it's by David Phelps, it's called "Inclined" and it is meant to represent civil rights struggles. The two beams are the railroad, the figure is a black man, and the ball is "the white world". I've been told one interpretation specific to OKC, that the African Americans of Deep Deuce were commonly employed in warehouses and factories of Bricktown, so because they were the backbone of the industry, they made the "white world" go round by sending things along on the railroad track.

12-04-2008, 01:16 PM
If that's true, there really should be a plaque.

It's one of my favorite public art pieces in OKC.

12-04-2008, 01:37 PM
No, I'm pretty sure there is a plaque. I took some friends from out of state their a few weeks back and they asked the same question. I think there is a plaque on a small pole by the steps.

Joe Kimball
12-04-2008, 02:36 PM
No, I'm pretty sure there is a plaque. I took some friends from out of state their a few weeks back and they asked the same question. I think there is a plaque on a small pole by the steps.

In which case, any idea what it approximately says, or if there's a photo of it anywhere? A jot over to the canal on a day such as today is out of the question---not that I necessarily would anyway, since I asked here to see if anyone here knew of it and was willing to share the information. ;)

Thanks for the details, shane. I had a slight inkling, now that I recall, that it may have been civil rights-related. Also, I now see how it's so indicative of Phelps' other work at JRB that I've seen, now that I know of it's creator.

I'd like to add too, that it's also one of my favorite pieces in OKC, if not the favorite.

12-04-2008, 03:24 PM
it is one of my favorites as well, i liked the nice man in the lawn piece at JRB before they sold it to out of state buyer.

12-04-2008, 05:57 PM
It's loosely based on the myth of Sisyphus, who in Greek mythology was doomed to forever push a giant boulder uphill, watch it roll down, and push it back up again. I'm not nitpicking with Shane, who just did one of the best jobs I have heard to date describing the statue, but I'm not sure the boulder represents "the white world" quite so literally. Perhaps more correctly it resembles a basic, seemingly eternal struggle -- the African American upward struggle.

Like Shane said, it does also represent the loading docks of historic Bricktown, plus, if you look closely you will see elements of the post-and-beam architecture of Bricktown's historic warehouses, in the "rails" themselves.

A bit of trivia: the model for the statue was a fellow named Curtis. The Parks department employees who maintain the canal have called the statue by the nickname "Curtis" since the day David Phelps and Curtis appeared for the statue dedication.

And Metro, sorry, no plaque. We've hoped for one for years, but no luck. It would make describing the statue much easier for folks who are often asked.

Last thing, it's funny how many people are wide-eyed with gullible belief when you jokingly describe how huge the hole was that they had to dig to bury him up to his waist.

12-04-2008, 06:30 PM
Maybe Metro has "insider" info that a plaque is coming and is trying to "hint" to us.:bright_id

Joe Kimball
12-04-2008, 06:30 PM
Wow. Good stuff. I appreciate it!

12-04-2008, 09:19 PM