A Modern Tribute to Femininity, Disability and Motherhood

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), September 16, 2005 | Go to article overview

A Modern Tribute to Femininity, Disability and Motherhood


Byline: By KAREN PRICE Western Mail

The controversial statue of disabled artist Alison Lapper which has been erected in London has been met with a mixed reaction. Marc Quinn's 13-tonne, 11ft 6in high white marble sculpture was officially unveiled yesterday on Trafalgar Square's fourth plinth.

While most people are pleased that Quinn has tackled the subject of disability, some say the statue itself is not his best piece of work, while others have accused him of creating it for the shock factor.

Lapper, who was born with no arms and shortened legs due to a congenital disorder, posed naked for Quinn when she was eight months pregnant.

As London Mayor Ken Livingstone unveiled the statue, he hailed Lapper as a 'modern heroine'. He said the statue, titled Alison Lapper Pregnant, made a worthy companion to Nelson's Column.

'This square celebrates the courage of men in battle. Alison's life is a struggle to overcome much greater difficulties than many of the men we celebrate and commemorate here,' he said.

'Marc Quinn has created an artwork that is a potent symbol and a great addition to London. It is a work about courage, beauty and defiance, which both captures and represents all that is best about our great city.

'Alison Lapper Pregnant is a modern heroine - strong, formidable and full of hope.'

The artist and his subject attended the unveiling ceremony in a rainy Trafalgar Square.

Lapper, there with her five-year-old son Parys, said, 'This is an amazing day for me, not only just for me but for all the people in the country and across the world who have got a disability. It's a really positive sculpture and an important step forward.

'We have been hidden away for way too long. It's about time people started to confront their prejudice. It's a real honour to be up there.'

Quinn said, 'I regard it as a modern tribute to femininity, disability and motherhood. It is so rare to see disability in everyday life - let alone naked, pregnant and proud.

'The sculpture makes the ultimate statement about disability - that it can be as beautiful and valid a form of being as any other.'

Quinn's work was chosen from a shortlist of six. It will remain in the square for 18 months before being replaced by Thomas Schutte's Perspex installation Hotel For The Birds. The plinth was built in 1841 and was intended to display an equestrian statue. Funds ran out and it has remained empty.

Bert Massie, chairman of the Disability Rights Commission says he's delighted at the sculpture. …

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