Current media coverage, active campaigns, public involvement and creative interventions, in the debate that has been running since at least 1952.
If you are thinking of starting a campaign for a statue or memorial honouring women and would like to find some wonderful inspiration for ways of getting attention just check the tactics used in campaigns like those for Mary Wollstonecraft and Emmeline Pankhurst.
What a brainwave to project Mary Wollstonecraft's image on to the Houses of Parliament, a great way to get her in the public eye.
And imagine the power of organising a public vote like the one in Manchester to start the conversation and get a real sense from the wider public about who they truly value.
The energetic, effective campaign, led by engineer Jane Priston, to celebrate the astonishing achievements of pioneering aviator Amy Johnson resulted in not one but two beautiful, lively statues.
So that’s a thought to bear in mind; is there more than one place that is significant in the life of the person or group that you are campaigning for? Once the sculptor’s work is done, more than one cast can be made. We have such a lot of ground to make up in terms of the recognition of women that this is a strategy worth considering. Amy was important both to the people of Hull where she was born and in Herne Bay where she died.
Another clever feature of these statues is that even without a sound component they still allow Amy’s inspiring words to reach us through engravings of her words on the surface of the statue.
And for some food for thought from the USA take a look at the Moving On page for the Millie Dresselhaus video. Attitudes are changing everywhere.
The clever "Wifies" - www.wifie.org.uk - in Edinburgh made life size portraits (above) of the women they wanted to see honoured, then set them around the city: a real call to action.
Sheffield City Council used the “Just Giving” site as part of their fundraising efforts. They attracted 295 supporters and exceeded their goal of raising £150,000 and actually got £163,166. The campaign reached a highly motivated group of givers. One of the very many supporters who donated said she had made her donation:
“In memory of our lovely brave Mother, Mary Gilbert (Nee Broomhead) who worked in Munitions at Stocksbridge Steel Works during the Second World War. Remembering too, all these ladies, from both wars.”
With the extra money raised Sheffield City Council were able to strike commemorative medals to be presented to the surviving steel factory workers.
Jan. 30, 2018
A woman to look up to.
In Iran wearing the veil is still the only way to be a safe and respectable woman. In fact, women can be arrested for publicly flouting the Islamic requirement that they cover their hair. This woman has in effect, created her own "plinth", to gain respect for her right to dress as she pleases.
According to an article in the New York Times yesterday by THOMAS ERDBRINK this brave young woman was the first of several such demonstrations of dissatisfaction at being forced to wear clothing dictated by the state religion.
' The first protest in December took place on a Wednesday and seemed connected to the White Wednesday campaign, an initiative by Masih Alinejad, an exiled Iranian journalist and activist living in the United States. Ms. Alinejad has reached out to Iranian women on Persian-language satellite television and through social media, and via a website she runs called My Stealthy Freedom. On the website, women post images of themselves without head scarves, demanding an end to the compulsory head scarf law.'
Jan. 19, 2018
Odd isn't it? Now that it comes to a second woman being proposed for a statue in Parliament Square the notion of "statue saturation" arises. Surley no one is so very antiquated as to think that because we will have one woman; the safely historical suffragist, Millicent Fawcett, that the balance is achieved?
article from the i spotted by inVISIBLEwomen's 'Roving Reporter' Anne French
Love her or loathe her, Maggie Thatcher was a true political force, as deserving of commemoration as the male inhabitants of the decades old 'Gentlemen's Club' in Parliament Square.
image from the i
We will no longer be fobbed off with the 'token woman'.
Jan. 14, 2018
Edinburgh has an impressive and positive initiative for its tourists, run by Social Enterprise, Invisible Cities (www.invisible-cities.org) which trains people who have experienced homelessness to become city tour guides.
Here is one of the guides, Biffy, speaking by the statue of the famous dog "Greyfriars Bobby".
Her tour is entitled "The Paths of Inspirational Women" so perhaps she is amusing the group by telling them that Edinburgh has more statues honouring animals than to commemorate the achievements of women? Hard to believe? Astonishing but true!
To book a tour visit www.invisible-cities.org
Nov. 23, 2017
An Artist's Installation on Blacklion-Belcoo Bridge by Rita Duffy
10 – 13 August 2017
Not actually civic staues but an uplifting intervention in this time of hardening of attitudes to borders and to those excluded by borders, whether physical or mental.
Inspired by holy well amulets nearby in Belcoo, women made a huge collection of dolls - border dwellers, travelling folk, refugees perhaps?
Women across Ulster produced a range of soft ‘furnishings’ out of recycled clothing. Old jumpers have been reinvented as huge soft orbs of colour to dress the bridge between Blacklion and Belcoo, literally ‘knitting’ the Border together.
Soften the Border was a temporary artwork installation across the North-South Border of Ireland; a response both to contemproary issues and to a history of conflict and separation. Women came together to sew and chat, sharing threads and buttons. Using up scraps from other knitting and crochet creations, voicing fears and listening to opinions drinking tea and helping each other as women do. Collectively they made this little patch of border soft, colourful, curious and comfortable for a few days.
So, not civic statues, but this work with bodies expresses the spirit of investigation of attitudes that can help to change a patriarchal mindset.
Oct. 13, 2017
" History's great women should be visible in our squares and streets"
In a letter to The Times this year more than 80 female politicians, accademics and public figures called for a statue to honour Mary Wolstonecraft, who wrote 'A Vindication of the Rights of Woman' and is widely regarded as the mother of feminism. This would be a long overdue celebration of a woman who "represents social mobility and the transformative power of education". The signatories argue that it would help to break the bronze ceiling that keeps women so woefully under-represented in civic statues.
and if you haven't seen the Mary on the Green video do have a look via the link below. It's great.
follow this link: Click Here
Oct. 11, 2017
TERRACOTTA DAUGHTERS by Prune Nourry
'Terracotta Daughters' examins the consequences of gender selection favouring boys, exemplified in China, brought about by the One Chid policy. Taking her inspiration from the famous Terracotta Army of Xi'an, Prune Nourry made 8 hybrid sculptures, combining the style of the Terracotta Soldiers and the portraits of 8 young Chinese girls. With the help of artisan-copyists from Xi'an, she then created an army of 108 unique combinations from the eight original molds.
Following a World Tour (Shanghai, Paris, Zurich, New York and Mexico City), the Army was buried in a secret location in China, in a performance entitled "Earth Ceremony" held in October 2015.
Musée Diego de Rivera Anahuacalli - Mexico. image ©Marisa Veléz.
In Objekt International Hans Fonk says her work is about "highlighting the crucial problems of our society, as exemplified by the implications of science in child gender selection and the consequences of the techniques of procreation which lead to an artificial evolution of the population".
The challenge this work addresses is that without daughters there will be no women, without women there will be no human race. So what mad system will ultimately value boys above girls? The excavation of the Terracotta Daughters will take place in 2030, when, according to Chinese demographers, the male/female imbalance will have reached its peak.
In the shorter term, sales of the original scuptures fund the education of the orphan girls who were the models for the Terracotta daughters.
Oct. 10, 2017
"If you shape the past, you own the present"
Image: Monumental cartoon from The Baltimore Sun by Kal
After the furore over colonial statue-toppling in the US the Guardian asked readers to nominate deserving figures yet to be carved in stone. In the article that accompanies the results Zoe Williams suggests that the whole argument over statues is a symptom of a deeper unease.
"Iconoclasm is, above anything, an attempt to bring to a head a debate that is operating at a subcultural level. Colonialism, good or bad? Slavery, good or bad? These questions are boiling under, like suppurating sores, poisoning issues from Brexit in the UK to police racism in the US. Coming out trenchantly against a long-dead enemy is one way of forcing the confrontation to the surface. Statue-crushing is not something that happens in an era of consensus".
It's another testament to the power of a civic statue. The article reveals the that "These Confederate statues aren’t carved marble; they are cheap bronze casts, and they went up not straight after the civil war, but in two waves, one at the turn of the 20th century, one in the 1960s, coinciding both times with a growing civil rights movement. Their sponsors – the Daughters of the Confederacy, standing $200 statues for towns with the will to memorialise the glorious old days, but not the means – are not a historical record of Robert E Lee standing among his peers. They are a propaganda history-grab many years after, undertaken on the principle that if you shape the past, you own the present".
These insights into the power and uses of the civic statue makes it even more important that new statues are erected of women whose roles have meaning and value for our society. We have enough naked, unnamed nymphs. See the article for the suggestions for new statues which include Mary Wolstonecraft, Ada Lovelace, Victoria Wood, Gina Miller, Zaha Hadid, Doreen Lawrence, J K Rowling and Jo Cox.
Zoe Williams in the Guardian Tuesday 12 September 2017 www.theguardian.com
Oct. 5, 2017
100 Great Black Britons campaign attests to the power of the civic statue.
100 Great Black Britons was launched in 2003 to wide acclaim to emphasise the importance of role models for young black Britons. Jamaican nurse and entrepreneur Mary Seacole was voted number one and her statue now stands outside St Thomas Hospital in London, just over the river from the Houses of Parliament.
The original Black Britons project was in response to the BBC’s 100 Britons campaign in 2002, which saw the public voting for Winston Churchill as the greatest Brit of all time. Not one person of African heritage was included; in fact, Freddie Mercury was the only person of colour.
Patrick Vernon, founder of 100 Great Black Britons says "I hope that through raising awareness we can change the conversation about the contributions of black people to British society and history, and protect their legacy. When in 2013 Michael Gove attempted to exclude Mary Seacole from the history curriculum we were able to galvanise a campaign of resistance because we had raised her profile as an important figure."
"As Black History Month celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, it’s the ideal time to undertake the enjoyable task of amassing a new list. Against the backdrop of Brexit, the rise of rise-wing politics, and the continuing inequality faced by black communities in the UK, I hope the campaign will inspire, and be a further marker that we belong here and our historical and current contributions are making a difference, despite not always been valued and respected."
Nominations start 1st of October 2017. Closing date for nominations 31st of March 2018. Voting begins 22 June on Windrush Day, with results announced 1st of October 2018.
Oct. 3, 2017
Breaking the mould of the "hushed genre of the honorific statue"
The statue of Millicent Fawcett by Gillian Wearing has a clever twist on the traditional civic commemoration. When you look at it you see a woman who could almost have been with us on the Women's March this year... now she is going to be the first woman on a plinth alongside the 11 men in Parliament Square, that ancient male preserve of totems of patriarchal power, who will finally be joined by a woman - a protestor and activist immortalised.
Gillian Darley writes in Apollo Arts Magazine that sculptor Gillian Wearing's statue of Fawcett, shows, " faithfully enough, a woman in an ankle-length dress (ornamented by a brooch cast from one she owned, a small note of added authenticity) and plainly dressed hair, cast in bronze.There is nothing, in that, to scare those easily made nervous by the conceptual.Yet she has succeeded in gently, and subtly, subverting the hushed genre of the honorific statue.
Fawcett is holding a large placard (as do many of Wearing’s subjects, more usually in photographs). The words on it are those with which Fawcett marked Emily Davison’s tragic death at the Epsom Derby in 1913, her life lost for their common cause, votes for women; ‘Courage calls to Courage Everywhere.’ The scale and form of the message and the surface on which the words are freely lettered, translates the statue straight into our moment."
Aug. 25, 2017
The Guardian want to know who should get a statue.
image The Guardian.
The question is "who, living or dead, should get a statue?"
Given the state of affairs in terms of the terrible gender imblalance, the easy thing to decide is that it should be a woman, but who?
Send in your thoughts via the link below.
Aug. 20, 2017
As if we needed any more evidence of the power of the civic statue, Charlottesville provides us with the sad proof.
The heritage of the confederacy's war on the human rights of a race of people they enslaved for their own enrichment is shameful. This is the patriarchy's most base and vile manifestation and has proved a rallying point for modern day racists, bigots and self-defined "nationalists".
.Image: Monumental cartoon from The Baltimore Sun by Kal
The difficult question that it leaves us with is how to stop honouring evil aspects of a nation's history without erasing it from the record? We know that if we do not understand our history we are condemned to repeat it, mistakes and all. Taking down statues to evil-doers expresses the abhorence we feel for their acts but we also need to remember what they have done.
Auschwitz could have been razed to the ground but then would we truly see the utter horror of what went on under the nazi regime? Some commemeration seems to be required without any glorification and with a balancing memorial to, for example, campaigners for peace and equality and the brave people who ran the "Underground Railway" that brought countless numbers of runaway slaves to freedom.
Aug. 14, 2017
A flight of fantasy. Could she be a queer icon?
Statues of Queen Victoria are omnipresent and it is interesting to speculate why that is. Of course, she reigned for 60 years..but maybe because there were barely any statues of women the patriarchy encouraged lots of the Queen in order to make it appear that some kind of gender equity was being practiced? Seeing the statue erected to Queen Victoria by the women of Bath it also possible to imagine ( somewhat wildly? ) that their "love and loyaly"
might just conceivably not simply be the blind allegiance of well-to-do women to the monarchy but might have been the clandestine act of a group of lesbian women, out of gratitude for the Queen's alleged cunning protection of lesbians from the force of the law by leaving them out of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885 that criminalised gay men's sexual relationships. More likely of course, that, as suggested in the article in The Scotsman, the male establishment avoided legislating on lesbianism, for fear of drawing women's attention to its existence.... not imagining, in that paternalistic, Victorian male way that women may just have got there without any prompting from men. The article also says that the myth of her taking lesbian acts out of the legislation started in Wellington, New Zealand, in 1977, because a demonstration for lesbian equality centred on a statue of Victoria.
Read more at: http://www.scotsman.com/news/background-myth-of-victoria-and-ban-on-homosexuality-1-1499082
July 13, 2017
Art UK have secured funding for a 3 year, nationwide survey of Britain's public sculpture heritage. This is a real testament to the deep and lasting significance of the civic statue. Katey Goodwin, Deputy Director of Art UK, believes that public art is a vital part of our environmant and its benefits go much deeper than than just something interesting or beautiful to look at. "The fact that public art can be rooted in local identity or history gives a sense of interest or ownership, increasing feelings of well being"
. image from Gatehead Council's website
She quotes a study by Durham University which looked at the Angel of the North and found that 72% of respondents said the sculpture made them feel good whenever they saw it and 64% said it made them feel proud of Gateshead. This same response is, of course, true for the sense of affirmation found in seeing people of one's own gender recognised for their achievements and the lack of women represented in public art is a real loss to us all.
Imagine how it would feel if the Angel of the North was a woman.
Art UK are looking for volunteer photographers. Details will be on their website artuk.org.
Source: Watrose Weekend newspaper
June 10, 2017
image; New York Times
If you have ever doubted the relevance or power of a civic statue, you have only to look at the strong responses to Fearless Girl in New York. The statue was created to "stand as a reminder that having more women in leadership positions positively contributes to overall performance and strengthens our economy,”
Calls for “Fearless Girl” to become a permanent part of the financial district began almost immediately after it appeared, including an online petition that had garnered more than 28,000 signatures in a matter of days. Those calls continued after the decision to extend the statue’s stay for one year became known, including from the New York City public advocate, Letitia James.
“Fearless Girl is a powerful symbol to women young and old,” Ms. James wrote on Twitter. “Empowering women shouldn’t be temporary — she must be a permanent piece of NYC.”
Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, stood beside the statue ( originally only designed as a temporary installation ) to announce the decision to extend its stay until the next International Women’s Day, on March 8, 2018. He called the statue a symbol of “standing up to fear, standing up to power, being able to find in yourself the strength to do what’s right.”
Mr. de Blasio said the presidency of Donald J. Trump and the nationwide women’s rights marches the day after his inauguration had given the statue a special power. “Right after that, this miraculous girl appears and creates such a powerful sensation because she spoke to the moment,” the mayor said. “That sense that women were not going to live in fear, that women were going to teach their daughters and all the women in their lives to believe in themselves.”
image; New York Times
“Sometimes, a symbol helps us become whole, and I think the ‘Fearless Girl’ is having that same effect,” he added. “She is inspiring everyone at a moment when we need inspiration.”
May 7, 2017
Change is afoot in Leeds.
No longer satisfied with a Prince on a charger,
flanked by four worthy gentlemen,
surrounded by 8 naked, nameless nymphs
MP Rachel Reeves and council leader Judith Blake are calling for a civic statue to honour a real women and her achievments. Their call has been spurred on by the plans for statues of Emmeline Pankhurst in Manchester, Ellen Wilkinson in Middlesbrough and Millicent Fawcett in London's Parliament Square. The Yorkshire Evening Post wants to hear from readers about who they admire and draw their inspiration from.
Contact them at the address below.
Read more at: http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/news/statue-plis interested in what people havce to sat about this.an-for-leeds-women-gathering-pace-1-8487685