British artists seeking to balance gender scales with statue project

HISTORY PRESERVATION: A bust of Her Late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II

In nearly every country, women only make up two to four per cent of public statues.

Two British artists are on a mission to address gender inequality after a study revealed there is two times the number of goat statues than statues of women in the UK.

The issue of gender equality in public statues is one that has slowly been coming to light in the last couple of years. Globally, this is a significant problem. In nearly every country, women only make up two to four per cent of public statues.

Gillie and Marc Schattner are working to solve this issue with their new project Statues For Legends. They aim to line the streets with inspiring stories of local legends worldwide.

Marc said: "We have already been so lucky to have created sculptures of some truly incredible women around the world, from Jane Goodall to Oprah. We can’t wait to do more."

It’s not just in the UK where animals have outdone women in terms of representation. In Australia, there are more statues of horses.

A spokesperson said: "This isn’t because men, goats, and horses have had a more significant impact on local communities than women. It’s a simple case of women being overlooked."

The issue is more prominent when it comes to celebrating sporting heroes. The US has more than 300 baseball statues, yet only two are of female players. There are 240 statues of sportspeople in the UK, but only three are of female athletes. In Australia, there are more statues of racehorses than of female athletes.

While representation may seem an insignificant issue, public sculptures are powerful vessels of change. Currently, the successes of men are normalised. By bringing the stories of impactful women to the streets, their successes are normalised too.

Gillie said: "It’s so important that boys and girls can look up into the faces of a diverse range of people, not just white men. They need to see people who look like them, as well as others who look completely different. Only then can we have a more tolerant and supportive society."

While Statues For Legends is looking to balance the gender gap of public statues, they are not solely focused on this goal. The aim is to bring to life the stories of local communities, shining spotlights on mythical tales, indigenous heroes, and courageous humans, male and female.

Gillie said: "As public artists, we believe in the power of art and its ability to open people's hearts and minds. Whether it’s there to teach us something, inspire us, or just make us smile, public art has the ability to affect real change, which we have seen happen time and time again."

Gillie and Marc are currently looking for nominations for the Statues For Legends project. The public can put forward the name of a person, animal, or even a legend to be immortalised in bronze and erected in their community.

They are also offering to co-fund the expensive statues, helping smaller communities see their local legends immortalised in a way they may have never been able to afford. Nominate your legend and apply for a grant on their website at www.statuesforlegends.com.

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