A country expresses its historical values through its public monuments, and currently, New York’s Central Park is home to 22 sculptures of men. However, this is set to change. After 164 years of male-only monuments, US artist Meredith Bergmann has been selected to design a bronze statue of 19th-century suffragettes Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. The piece is due to be unveiled in 2020.
The Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony Statue Fund Inc has been championing for the statue since 2015. Their mission states, “by honouring Stanton and Anthony, New York City will also be honouring the biggest non-violent revolution in the history of this nation — the battle for woman suffrage”. The art of the park will change to mirror evolving times, mimicking the recent unveiling of Gillian Wearing’s Millicent Fawcett outside the UK Houses of Parliament. Currently, the only monuments to depict females in Central Park are works of pure fantasy; the iconic statue of Alice in Wonderland, Shakespeare’s Juliet and other nymphs and allegorical figures.
The time has come to honour real women who have made real impacts on humankind. “The absence of these sculptures reinforces the erroneous view that women have not made notable achievements to our society”, the Fund’s mission writes. As public sculpture can provide a kind of history lesson for all tourists, it is important an accurate one is depicted. As Pam Elam, President of the Fund comments, with this new work, “we’re breaking the bronze ceiling in Central Park”.