Historically, if a monument of a woman was raised, it was likely to be an of an unnamed woman. Typically they are symbols or muses such as Liberty, Freedom or Hope. Alternatively they have often depict Mothers, religious figures such as the Virgin Mary, or completely unnamed, figurative statues.
Public spaces should represent a city’s diversity and values. However, if you were to take a stroll through New York City and admire its 150 statues, you would find that only 5 of them depict real women which is only 3.3%.: Joan of Arc, Golda Meir, Gertrude Stein, Eleanor Roosevelt and Harriet Tubman.
This begs the question: have women really contributed to society in a big way?
“YES! Of course they have,” strongly asserts Gillie Schattner, “but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the marginalisation of women in public art.”
Gillie is part of the internationally renowned husband-and-wife artistic duo, Gillie and Marc, who are on a mission to balance gender representation in New York City’s public art scene.
“Of over 100 monumental artworks that Gillie and I have been commissioned to create,” says Marc, “we were floored to discover that only 1 was a woman! This is a dangerous realisation. Statues can either perpetuate sexist ideologies, or they can inspire young girls and boys to change biases, aspirations and perceptions about women in leadership and in history.”
The unfortunate reality is that it’s easier to find art depicting women as anonymous nudes, rather than strong inspirational figures, but the artists are on a mission to change this.
That’s why Gillie and Marc have personally teamed up with some of the world’s most powerful women, and are taking an artistic stand for equal rights with their launch of Statues for Equality on August 26th, Women’s Equality Day 2019.