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A Milestone on the March to Equality.
13 Nov 2021
From a distance, it’s a Victorian woman in a stiff crinoline. Get closer, and you’ll see that her skirts are actually a cliff-face studded with vignettes. How appropriate for the founder of the RSPB, whose work in safeguarding birds and their habitats continues until this day. Over 12,000 people from across the world voted in the competition between four short-listed sculptors. Eve Shepherd was a clear winner.
Eve said "Emily Williamson was one of those amazing women who has been forgotten because of her gender. This statue will be a triumph, a milestone, for how far we have come to balance the scales of equality for women within public sculpture, though we still have some distance to go. I am so very delighted and excited to have been selected to be part of this!"
" I feel humbled and privileged to sculpt such an important pioneer and eco-activist. She was a visionary; a quiet, yet stoic woman, who stood against the norms of her day. She co-created a legacy, the RSPB – a charity that has saved countless bird lives and protected precious natural habitats for future generations to enjoy. In my eyes Emily is a shining beacon of how we can save our fragile ecosystem in these unprecedented times'.
Social Historian Tessa Boase, who has done so much to bring this project to life, said: 'Sculptor Eve Shepherd is renowned for the depth of her research, and her iconoclastic approach to public artwork. Her statue of Emily Williamson will be an inspiring monument not just to a woman, but to the beauty and vulnerability of birdlife. If we want the next generation to cherish nature and to safeguard biodiversity, we need to engage young minds and hearts – through telling stories. This statue will contain a multitude of stories and species, drawing the viewer back again and again. Eve's proposed use of augmented reality technology to enhance interpretation will bring an exciting extra dimension." The aim for the augmented reality is to bring to life some of the vignettes sculpted in the skirts of the figure. The statue will stand in Fletcher Moss, Emily Williamson's garden in Manchester.