Artist unveils design for Parliament Square suffragist statue
Source:theguardian Date: 2017-09-21 Size:
The first female artist to create a statue for Parliament Square in central……

Artist Gillian Wearing with a model of suffragist leader Millicent Fawcett. She is the first female artist to create a statue for Parliament Square.

The first female artist to create a statue for Parliament Square in central London has unveiled the final design.

Gillian Wearing, who will produce a sculpture of Millicent Fawcett, the suffragist leader, revealed her design on Tuesday, shortly before its construction application was granted conditional approval by Westminster city council.

A detailed model of the monument shows Fawcett holding a sign that reads “Courage calls to courage everywhere”, taken from a speech she gave after the death of fellow campaigner Emily Wilding Davison at the 1913 Epsom Derby.

Wearing also incorporated one of Fawcett’s brooches into the design, borrowing the original from the Fawcett Society so it could be scanned and cast into bronze.

The Turner prize-winning artist will be the first person to produce a statue of a female subject for the square.

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has been working closely with the communities secretary, Sajid Javid, to ensure the statue can be unveiled for the centenary of the Representation of the Peoples Act 1918 in February, which granted some women over 30 the vote for the first time.

Wearing was named as the artist behind the statue in April, after a campaign in May last year by Caroline Criado-Perez, who attracted 85,000 signatures to an online petition that called for a statue of a woman to be erected in the square.

This year, the government announced that the monument would be paid for from a £5m fund to celebrate the centenary of women’s suffrage.

Khan said: “As a proud feminist at City Hall, I have given Caroline’s inspired campaign my full support and am delighted that we have been given the go-ahead to bring the first ever statue of a woman to the centre of British democracy in Parliament Square – something which is long overdue.

“Next year marks a century since the start of women’s suffrage in the UK – one of our country’s most pivotal moments – and our mission now is to ensure that we can begin the centenary celebrations with the unveiling of this landmark piece.

“This will be one of the most momentous and significant statues of our time and I know that Gillian Wearing’s exceptional talent and unique insight will do great justice to the movement and Millicent Fawcett’s legacy.

“We want this statue to depict the strength and determination of the women who dedicated their lives to the fight for women’s suffrage and to inspire many generations to come - and I know Gillian’s creation will do just that.”

Wearing said: “I am really delighted that planning has been granted. Now Millicent Fawcett’s statue can stand as an equal among male statues in Parliament Square.”

Javid also welcomed the news: “Aged just 22, Millicent Fawcett gave her first speech on women’s suffrage and then campaigned relentlessly for nearly 50 years before the vote was finally given to women.

“I am proud that this beautifully designed statue of Fawcett in Parliament Square will inspire a new generation to champion her struggle for equality and women’s rights.”

• This article was amended on 20 September 2017. The original referred to Millicent Fawcett as a suffragette. Although she worked alongside suffragettes, who employed different, and more militant tactics in their campaign, Fawcett herself is more accurately described as a suffragist. This has been corrected.

[Editor] 张艳