Newly unveiled Medusa statue is criticised by feminists 

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A statue of Medusa recently unveiled in a Manhattan park and intended as a homage to the #MeToo movement has drawn criticism from feminist groups. 

The statue of the Greek mythological figure clutching a severed head was unveiled Tuesday in Collect Pond Park which is purposefully located across the street from the courthouse where Harvey Weinstein was convicted. 

While some have praised the work as a powerful image for the #MeToo movement, it has drawn criticism from others who questioned why the work was done by a male sculptor.     

The public unveiling of the newest work by artist Luciano Garbati 'Medusa With The Head of Perseus', is seen at Collect Pond Park in the Manhattan borough of New York City

The public unveiling of the newest work by artist Luciano Garbati ‘Medusa With The Head of Perseus’, is seen at Collect Pond Park in the Manhattan borough of New York City

The newest work by artist Luciano Garbati has drawn criticism as feminists questioned why the work was done by a male sculptor

The newest work by artist Luciano Garbati has drawn criticism as feminists questioned why the work was done by a male sculptor

The newest work by artist Luciano Garbati has drawn criticism as feminists questioned why the work was done by a male sculptor

People take a selfie during the public unveil of the newest work by artist Luciano Garbati, 'Medusa With The Head of Perseus'

People take a selfie during the public unveil of the newest work by artist Luciano Garbati, 'Medusa With The Head of Perseus'

People take a selfie during the public unveil of the newest work by artist Luciano Garbati, ‘Medusa With The Head of Perseus’

The statue was the work of Argentine-Italian artist Luciano Garbati and was intended as a feminist response to Benvenuto Cellini’s original work from the 16th century, Perseus With the Head of Medusa.

In Greek mythology, Medusa was raped by the powerful God Poseidon but instead of Poseidon being punished, Medusa was blamed for defiling Goddess Athena’s sanctuary and turned into a monstrous beast with snakes for hair, as well as a gaze that could turn men into stone. 

The Greek hero and slayer of monsters Perseus, was then sent to sever the head of Medusa. 

Sculptor Luciano Garbati poses for photos next to his seven-foot statue of Medusa holding the head of Greek hero Perseus, in Collect Pond Park which is located across the street from Manhattan Supreme Court where Harvey Weinstein was convicted

Sculptor Luciano Garbati poses for photos next to his seven-foot statue of Medusa holding the head of Greek hero Perseus, in Collect Pond Park which is located across the street from Manhattan Supreme Court where Harvey Weinstein was convicted

Sculptor Luciano Garbati poses for photos next to his seven-foot statue of Medusa holding the head of Greek hero Perseus, in Collect Pond Park which is located across the street from Manhattan Supreme Court where Harvey Weinstein was convicted

The original statue, in Florence, Italy, shows Perseus holding up the severed head of the gorgon Medusa.

Mr Garbati decided to reverse the narrative, instead showing an indomitable Medusa clutching a severed head of Perseus. 

In his application for the statue, Mr Garbati said the original work by Cellini had ‘communicated to women for millennia that if they are raped, it is their fault’. 

‘She is alive after the battle with Perseus and that is significant,’ Garbati said of his 100 pound statue.  

Garbati's Medusa statue

Garbati's Medusa statue

Garbati's Medusa statue

Garbati's Medusa statue

In his application for the statue, Mr Garbati said the original work by Cellini had ‘communicated to women for millennia that if they are raped, it is their fault’

detailed view of Medusa's head from the newly installed statue of "Medusa With The Head of Perseus" by Argentine-Italian artist Luciano Garbati stands in Collect Pond Park

detailed view of Medusa's head from the newly installed statue of "Medusa With The Head of Perseus" by Argentine-Italian artist Luciano Garbati stands in Collect Pond Park

detailed view of Medusa’s head from the newly installed statue of ‘Medusa With The Head of Perseus’ by Argentine-Italian artist Luciano Garbati stands in Collect Pond Park

‘According to the myth, she should be the one dead and beheaded. 

Benvenuto Cellini’s original statue

Benvenuto Cellini's original statue, Perseus With the Head of Medusa

Benvenuto Cellini's original statue, Perseus With the Head of Medusa

Benvenuto Cellini’s original statue, Perseus With the Head of Medusa

Luciano Garbati’s work was intended as a feminist take on Benvenuto Cellini’s original statue, Perseus With the Head of Medusa.

The original statue was sculpted between 1545–1554. it shows Perseus standing naked except for a sash and winged sandals, triumphant on top of the body of Medusa. 

Her head, crowned with writhing snakes, is in his raised hand and blood spews from her severed neck. 

The statue is located in front of the Palazzo Vecchio in the Piazza della Signoria in Florence, Italy.  

‘That’s the most important thing you can say about this sculpture but also that she has defended her life and set a boundary.’  

However the concept of the statue fell flat among some feminists, with people taking to Twitter to express their disappointment.  

‘If this is supposed to be so empowering for women, why is Medusa so skinny and pube-less? This seems more like some man’s fantasy than a commentary on sexual assault,’ one person said. 

‘Pretty sure most people are just going to be confused about why there’s a naked woman statue out in the public area, and those who do know the story are going to be annoyed that it’s been screwed up…’ another commented. 

Activist Wagatwe Wanjuki wrote on Twitter:’#MeToo was started by a black woman, but a sculpture of a European character by a dude is the commentary that gets centred? Sigh.’ 

Others were more receptive to the statue’s intended feminist reading. ‘Medusa was wronged by the gods of Greek mythology, much alike the many women who have suffered from sexual harassment or rape in the hands on Weinstein. 

It’s a powerful image for the #MeToo movement,’ one Twitter user said. 

Garbati deliberately wanted to place the statue near the Manhattan Supreme Court where movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was convicted of rape and other sexual offenses and sentenced to 23 years behind bars. 

‘The image has been related to justice and there is no better place for her to be,’ he said. 

Bek Andersen, who is the founder of the Medusa With The Head Project and worked with Garbati to bring the work to New York City, added: ‘What I hope she represents is surviving assault.

‘Surviving assault is nothing to be ashamed of.

‘Medusa can help put a vision in people’s minds that there is no shame in speaking out, defending yourself and demanding justice.’



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