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The statue of civil rights icon Rosa Parks unveiled Wednesday in Statuary Hall holds added significance for Rep. Janice Hahn, D-Calif.
The nearly 9-foot bronze sculpture — revealed at a ceremony attended by President Barack Obama and members of congressional leadership — was created by an artist from Hahn’s Southern California district, a factoid that gives the second-term member great pride.
“It gives me great bragging rights,” Hahn said of the sculpture created by Eugene Daub, whose studio is in San Pedro, the community in which Hahn has lived for 22 years.
Hahn said Daub’s statue will showcase the talented residents who live in the neighborhood, located on the Pacific coast.
“The community in San Pedro is an artist community in Los Angeles,” Hahn said. “Art is a huge part of the fabric and identity of San Pedro, and this statue raises the level of awareness of what talented artists we have there.”
She added that whenever her constituents visit the Capitol, the statue will be an important part of their tours of the historic building.
“I will make sure that everybody that we take on tours of the Capitol makes sure that they see the statue,” Hahn said. “There is a piece of San Pedro in our nation’s capital.”
Daub, who co-owns the San Pedro-based Daub & Firmin studio with his work partner, Rob Firmin, was selected from more than 100 artists to create the Parks statue.
Daub and his partner were commissioned to create it in 2009, four years after the project was approved by Congress.
The statue is the first of an African- American woman to be placed in the Capitol and the first statue commissioned by Congress since 1873.
The artist traveled to Washington, D.C., with his wife and children this week for the unveiling, where he was greeted by Hahn and got to meet the president before the ceremony.
“It’s just a wonderful honor,” Daub said of being commissioned. “And for me to know that over the years, from now till forever, this is in bronze, and thousands of people will be seeing it — that’s just an amazing honor.”
Hahn said watching the ceremony had added significance for her, knowing that the statue was created in the same community where she has raised her family.
“I thought it was such a beautiful nonpartisan moment where we all laid down our political labels for the hour and struck a conciliatory note on honoring a great American civil rights icon,” Hahn said. “And for me, the added icing on the case was the fact that the artist was from San Pedro.”