LUCY, Betsy and Anarcha

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The Three Graces by Michael Bryan (above) 2016

I just submitted a Statement of Interest to the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs for their open call. They’ve requested proposals for the site in Central Park where statue of Dr. J. Marion Sims was removed. Needless to say, I have some ideas…

Can removal be a restorative act, or are we simply replacing one myopia with another? When we elect to eliminate, are we disrupting the very context that activates the significance of a particular History? The Central Park statue of Dr. J. Marion Sims told one side of a brutal and complex narrative for over 80 years; a single individual positioned as ‘hero’, whose capabilities were, in fact, bound by racism and sexism. Lucy, Betsy, and Anarcha were similarly, but ever more acutely, bound by these same constraints - silenced by the myth of white male heteronormative supremacy.  But it does not serve our contemporary moment or the conversations we hope to inspire, by repeating this one-sided approach.

It would seem that we are all beguiled by a false sense of dichotomy.  That there exists a stark boundary between the oppressor and the oppressed, the enslaved and the enslaver, the physician and the patient - but these relationships are the embodiment of ecosystems created by the interaction of these perceived “opposites”.  What if a sculptural/cultural experience is created to emphasize the relationship between Lucy, Betsy, Anarcha, and James. By disrupting the established historical hierarchy, a monument could help to recast the keepers of this uniquely American legacy. We have a duty to recognize the tether that links our nation to its past; not by omission, but through inclusion and the amplification of voices unheard.


Kenya Robinson