Friday, 14 May 2010

2010:365:134 Getting to the bottom of it.

I love pieces of sculpture in public places - maybe I don't always like them - but making art accessible is a good idea.  This piece I like very much.  It stands just outside the bus/train station on Great Victoria Street, Belfast - near to the most bombed hotel in Europe!  
Many folk stop and look at these women because the details need to be studied up close.  Quotations and statistics are placed all over the figures - though I'd need to return in different light in order to get proper pictures of them.
There's such a sense of strength in the characters portrayed.  "Women do two thirds of the world's work, receive only two per cent of the world's income, and own less than one per cent of the world's assets".  Now there's something to make you think!  I wonder where is the source of those statistics and how accurate they continue to be?  Even if there is inaccuracy, I imagine it isn't fifty per cent of income and assets....!
There's symbolism all over these women - objects that at first look "normal" from a distance are seen more clearly when you're up close.  
Baby dummies are sculpted for earrings!  
A ball of wool for the traditional "bun" worn by women of a certain generation.
And hair brushes and nail brushes are used to give the dreadlocks appearance on the tightly plaited hair.
You'll notice too the baby's bottle in this photograph.  "All women working in the home receive no direct wage" is the quotation on her right breast.  Why there's a steel cable across her chest - I do not know.  Though I suppose that's the glory of art - there is freedom for interpretation and sometimes the viewer sees things not even conceived by the artist.  
Nor do I quite understand the telephone - the line of communication.... the quotation here is about women gaining the right to equal pay and the fear that it might open the "floodgates"!  This is one that needs to be re-photographed in order to get the focus sharper.  A couple of visitors to Belfast were chatting to me at this point and I didn't really want to go on taking too many pictures.  Just as they left another couple of visitors arrived!  It is a busy plaza at times!
The lady with the telephone has a typewriter keyboard on her stomach...  some day when it isn't so busy I'll go back and try to get some more clues to help interpret this piece.
As for the colander and the fish slice... they're on the taller figure's bottom.... no idea why, except that they'd be common items in any kitchen.... 

God of Eve and God of Mary,
God of love and mother-earth,
thank you for the ones who with us
shared their life and gave us birth.

As you came to earth in Jesus,
so you come to us today;
you are present in the caring
that prepares us for life's way.

Church Hymnal number 541
by Fred Kaan


Louise said...

You always make it worthwhile to come by! Thanks for the great variety of pictures!

Rev Elizabeth said...

Thanks....they are interesting bronzes.

Loey said...

Great sculptures Elizabeth,
I think the woman with the telephone on her chest and typwriter on her lap may be a symbol of a secretary. Just a guess - but the secretary was expected to work over and above the award & still does to this day:)

Rev Elizabeth said...

I think you're right... there's a quotation that I didn't see yesterday that indicates 99.9% of all secretaries are women. It lists various other occupations too where women are the vast majority. Lowest paid job as well often.