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Mary Wollstonecraft statue comes to Newington Green after decade-long campaign

PUBLISHED: 18:15 10 November 2020 | UPDATED: 18:19 10 November 2020

Maggi Hambling's statue in Newington Green, dedicated to Mary Wollstonecraft. Picture: Ioana Marinescu

Maggi Hambling's statue in Newington Green, dedicated to Mary Wollstonecraft. Picture: Ioana Marinescu

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A sculpture celebrating a feminist pioneer is set to be premiered on Newington Green after a decade-long campaign.

Maggi Hambling's statue in Newington Green, dedicated to Mary Wollstonecraft. Picture: Ioana MarinescuMaggi Hambling's statue in Newington Green, dedicated to Mary Wollstonecraft. Picture: Ioana Marinescu

The Mary on the Green group, which has been campaigning and fundraising £143,300 for the statue of Mary Wollstonecraft since 2010, will welcome the monument today (November 10).

It says it is the “world’s first” sculpture to Ms Wollstonecraft, who wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, was a radical thinker in Newington Green in the 18th century and also ran a school here.

She called for gender equality a century ahead of the suffragettes, prompting suffragist Millicent Fawcett to describe her as “the leader in that battle”.

The silvered bronze-cast art called A Sculpture for Mary Wollstonecraft was created by artist Maggi Hambling, and is intended to challenge traditional form by elevating an idea and personifying the spirit, rather than depicting the individual.

Maggi Hambling's statue in Newington Green, dedicated to Mary Wollstonecraft. Picture: Ioana MarinescuMaggi Hambling's statue in Newington Green, dedicated to Mary Wollstonecraft. Picture: Ioana Marinescu

READ MORE: Maggi Hambling chosen to create Mary Wollstonecraft statue in Newington Green

Maggi said: “This sculpture encourages a visual conversation with the obstacles Wollstonecraft overcame, the ideals she strived for, and what she made happen. A vital contemporary discourse for all that is still to be achieved.”

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Local resident and TV presenter Anita Rani has been a supporter of the campaign since starring in An Amazon Stept Out, a stage production of Wollstonecraft’s life put on at Shaftesbury Avenue’s Lyric Theatre in September 2019.

Anita said: “We’ve brought Mary Wollstonecraft right back to where she had some of her best ideas - ideas that changed the world.

“It’s unbelievable how little known she is - especially when you find out what a pioneer she was.

“She was someone who just never gave up, she always fought for others, she was a badass - and it cost her. Finally, she is getting the recognition she deserves - about time too.”

Chair of the Mary on the Green group Bee Rowlatt said: “Wollstonecraft’s political legacy is huge – her ideas changed the world. It took courage to fight for human rights and education for all, even more so for someone of Wollstonecraft’s gender and background.

“But following her early death in childbirth, her legacy was buried, in a sustained misogynistic attack. Today, we are finally putting this injustice to rights.”

The launch will be livestreamed tonight at 7pm on @MaryWOnTheGreen on Facebook and @maryonthegreen on Twitter.


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