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Are statues still relevant?

June 23, 2016

It is interesting to see the controversy around the Mary Seacole statue in London, with some arguing that a statue is an outdated way of celebrating a life and achievements. Although, given the sound and fury generated by this one it seems that a statue can be a very potent force. Perhaps it is more to do with the fact that it is a woman’s achievements, and a black woman’s achievements, which are being honoured, that brings out attempts to belittle and dismiss it?

Above image of the proposed Mary Seacole statue: The Guardian

The matter is fully discussed in a number of papers, including the Daily Mail:

"Lessons in lies: How the BBC, school text books and even exam boards have twisted history to smear Florence Nightingale and make a saint of this woman..."

 

Above image of Florence Nightingale: the Daily Mail

and the Guardian

“Mary Seacole is an unsung heroine,” says Baroness Amos, director of the School of Oriental and African Studies…..“A Jamaican businesswoman, traveller and healer who wanted to go to Crimea to help treat the wounded and save lives, but was refused by the authorities. Rather than accept defeat, she went independently using her own money.”

 

and the Voice

…actress Suzanne Packer, who is an ambassador for the appeal said “The Mary Seacole Memorial Statue is so much more than a piece of art,” she said. “It represents a validation of her existence as a great human being and as we are all intrinsically linked through past, present and future it connects with my life and makes me proud, particularly as a black woman in this country, to have such a powerful and courageous role model.”

Above image of Seacole from the Daily Mail