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Britain resurrects lesbian pirates as world recasts statues – artwork and tradition

Britain unveiled a statue of two lesbian pirates on Wednesday, resurrecting a duo who “broke gender boundaries” amid a wider debate over why so few girls are immortalised with monuments.

The statue of Anne Bonny and Mary Read, who, in keeping with some historic sources, had been lovers whereas pirates within the Caribbean, was unveiled at Execution Docks, a seaside on the banks of the River Thames the place smugglers and mutineers had been hung.

“Mary Read and Anne Bonny were two of the most famed pirates in the 18th century, yet there is little said about them in our history books,” Kate Williams, a professor of historical past on the University of Reading, mentioned in an emailed assertion.

“They broke gender boundaries and stunned people at the time,” mentioned Williams.

The significance of public artwork and who deserves commemoration have come underneath scrutiny after a statue of an English slave dealer was toppled by anti-racism protesters within the southwest metropolis of Bristol in June.

There has additionally been debate lately about why solely a few sixth of British statues characterize girls, in keeping with knowledge from The National Trust charity.

The commemoration of the long-forgotten lovers at sea got here every week after protests over the elevation of one other girls from historical past – this time British feminist pioneer Mary Wollstonecraft.

A brand new monument in London to Wollstonecraft, displaying a nude lady rising from an summary type of intermingled feminine figures, was labelled “disrespectful” on Twitter by feminist creator Caroline Criado Perez, who led a separate marketing campaign for a statue of ladies’s votes campaigner Millicent Fawcett.

The pirates, created by artist Amanda Cotton and commissioned by audiobook firm Audible, which is releasing a podcast dramatising the ladies’s lives, can be moved to Burgh Island on England’s southwest Devon coast in early 2021 the place it can stay as a everlasting reminder of a forgotten previous.

“Because of thousands of years of persecution of LGBT people, our histories are fragmented and lost,” mentioned Paul Johnson, head of sociology on the University of York.

“It is vital, therefore, that efforts continue to discover our past and represent it throughout society. Public art, explicitly dedicated to LGBT lives, reflects the long-standing diversity of Britain and helps create a more inclusive future.”

(This story has been revealed from a wire company feed with out modifications to the textual content.)

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