I receive this question from the Two Cents pool. My first "hit" is that race or ethnicity should not matter, but when I read the details about the artist, it does seem that in this case, a better choice could be made, and that an African-American artist would make sense and be a part of the statement and honoring.
"Does the race or ethnicity of an artist matter in a tribute honoring a historical figure?"
It's for this story:
The California NAACP is the first state to join a growing protest over the selection of a Chinese artist to sculpt the tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. planned for the National Mall. The monument, expected to be finished for the 40th anniversary of King’s 1968 assassination, would be the first on the Mall honoring an African American. The selection of Lei Yixin to carve the stone statue has angered many who say an African-American artist should have been chosen. The California NAACP unanimously passed a resolution condemning the choice to “outsource the production of the monument to Dr. King to the People’s Republic of China, the country with the worst record of human rights violations and civil rights abuses in the world" and artist Yixin, who is “renowned for his many sculptures and busts glorifying Mao Zedong, murderer of 70 million innocent Chinese, which is indirect opposition to Dr. King’s philosophy.”