Towering statue of lesbian pirates sparks outrage among locals

Amanda Cotton unveils ‘Inexorable’ a statue depicting Anne Bonny and Mary Read at Execution Docks, London. Their story is told in the new Audible podcast Hell Cats (Audible)

An eight foot statue of lesbian pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read has sparked outrage among locals in Devon.

The statue, created by artist Amanda Cotton, was previewed at London’s Execution Docks on 18 November 2020, and was due to be permanently homed on Burgh Island, a South Devon tidal retreat.

But locals in Devon were apparently outraged by the application for the statue, with Bigbury Parish Council voting against the proposal on Monday (15 February), according to the Daily Mail.

Locals were apparently horrified by the prospect of celebrating pirates, while others felt that a statue of a fisherman’s wife would be more appropriate for the region.

Michele Knight-Waite, a woman who lives in the area, objected to the statue being permanently homed on Burgh Island, describing the location as “an iconic beautiful natural space”.

“I love walking and looking at it and imagining its history. I am also a big fan of the tale of these two legendary pirates. However, I feel that this statue will detract from the historic site.”

Statue of lesbian pirates branded ‘totally inappropriate’.

She added: “It brings nothing of value and indeed takes away from the original historic view of the island. I strongly object as I feel it will impact the environment. It is totally inappropriate.

The statue seems to be a very patriarchal view of two skinny women with holes cut out, I really don’t get it.

“On top of that, the statue itself does not depict the energy of the two female pirates in any way, who dressed as men and were powerful sailors.

“The statue seems to be a very patriarchal view of two skinny women with holes cut out, I really don’t get it,” she said.

She went on to argue that the statue will be a “blot on the landscape” if it is placed permanently on Burgh Island.

Councillor Cathy Case said the statue would have gotten more support from locals if it had recognised the region’s fishing industry.

“I’m not convinced it’s the right thing for the island,” Case said, while councillor Sharon Smith said: “It would be better to have a fisherman’s wife looking out to sea.”

Launching the sculpture last year, artist Amanda Cotton said it was designed to celebrate the lesbian pirates’ personalities through the metaphor of “fire and earth”.

 


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