Radical statue of ‘trailblazer’ Mary to sit on Newington Green
Campaign judges choose award-winning artist’s figure of 19th-century feminist
24 May, 2018 — By Samantha Booth
Detail of the statue by Maggi Hambling
AWARD-winning artist Maggi Hambling has been chosen to make the long-awaited statue of 18th-century feminist Mary Wollstonecraft.
The Mary on the Green (MOTG) campaign judges unanimously chose Hambling’s “radical” 10ft statue to sit on Newington Green.
Ms Hambling, who has shown work at Somerset House and the National Gallery, said: “I’m really excited at the prospect of realising my idea, inspired by the trailblazer Mary Wollstonecraft. I hope the piece will act as a metaphor for the challenges women continue to face as we confront the world.”
The Tribune revealed earlier this year that Ms Hambling was up against Martin Jennings, who already has statues of writers George Orwell at BBC Broadcasting House at John Betjeman at St Pancras Station.
The MOTG campaign was launched in 2010 to gain recognition of Mary, who wrote on girls’ education and civil rights, including her work A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. They are halfway through their £120,000 fundraising drive and have been backed by Labour leader and Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn as well as more than 80 leading female figures.
Ms Hambling’s figure depicts an “everywoman”, and will feature Mary Wollstonecraft’s words: “I do not wish women to have power over men but over themselves.”
Bee Rowlatt, MOTG chairwoman, said: “This mould-breaking work of art will provoke debate, which is what public art should do, and which is what Wollstonecraft did her whole life.”
Jude Kelly, patron for the campaign, said: “Maggi Hambling, herself a modern legend, is a wonderful choice to capture the spirit and strength of Wollstonecraft.”
It is hoped the statue will be unveiled as soon as possible, subject to funding.