It has not been a good year for statues. The latest creative controversy now surrounds the newly unveiled Mary Wollstonecraft memorial in Newington Green, Islington. Sadly, this monument to the ‘mother of feminism’ is more pubic art than public art: a tiny, naked female, all shredded abs and bouffant bush, on top of a strange swirl of organic matter.
Apparently, the statue is not Wollstonecraft herself, but a tribute to her spirit. This is rather ironic, given that Wollstonecraft dedicated a whole chapter to Vindication of the Rights of Woman to how women’s minds should be admired over their bodies.
It is wrong on so many levels. Aesthetically, it is awful; it has been compared to a ‘Rolls-Royce hood ornament’, a ‘silvered mantelpiece trinket’
and a ‘whirl
of metal with the visual charisma of a doorknob.