Statues for Equality addresses the lack of female representation in public art in NYC with the installation of ten bronze replicas of infamous women, including Oprah Winfrey and Nicole Kidman, among others.
New York City is a place of global culture, yet women are sadly underrepresented in the city that never sleeps. Only five out of 150 sculptures in the city’s public art collection represent women (nonfictional).
In an effort to change this, public art initiative Statues for Equality will open a public showcase of bronze statues depicting fearless and much admired women of the modern era. Due to open in late August 2019, the installation will be placed outside the RXR Realty building on the Avenue of the Americas.
Launched by artists Gillie and Marc – who have been hailed as “the most successful creators of public art in New York’s history” by the New York Times – in conjunction with some of the world’s most powerful women, Statues for Equality aims to balance gender representation in public art and honour women’s contributions to society.
“Sculptures inspire. They illustrate history, and they express stories of achievement that motivate generations,” states the Statues for Equity website.
Run for your Life by Gillie and Marc, Melbourne's Federation Square (own work)
With gender equality one of the most critical global issues of the day, this public art initiative takes a significant stand in the fight for equal rights. The ten women chosen to be immortalised in bronze are women that are alive today and include: Oprah Winfrey, Cate Blanchett, Gabby Douglas, Tracy Dyson, Jane Goodall, Nicole Kidman, Janet Mock, Pink, Cheryl Strayed, and Tererai Trent.
Each woman will get to choose a flower upon which her respective statue will stand, as a symbol of “power, comfort and beauty”. The statues will be unveiled on August 26 for Women’s Equality Day.
“Our goal is to have a major city in each state erect a statue of an influential woman within the next five years,” Gillie stated in a press release. “We hope that as the [Statues for Equality] project expands, it will include a broader diversity of race, class, ability, sexual orientation, and gender expression.”
The Travellers have Arrived by Gillie and Marc, 2012 Sculpture by the Sea entry (own work)
In addition to the release of these inspiring figures in 2019, the city of New York’s cultural affairs department, through their She Built NYC! initiative launched in 2018, with the support of First Lady Chirlane McCray, has commissioned a permanent statue of Shirley Chisholm – the first black woman to serve in the House of Representatives – to be erected in the city. Central Park will also receive its first non-fictional female statues with depictions of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony to be unveiled in the park on August 18, 2020, marking the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment.
“Public monuments should not make us question our worth. They should accurately represent our history and inspire us to realise our potential. There are already so many forces at work in our society telling girls and women that we are not important.” - Chirlane McCray, First Lady of New York City.
Learn more about Statues for Equality here