Trailblazing seafare female pirates erased from history commemorated with powerful new statue.
A few weeks ago I had a lovely catch up with some of the directors of Lewes Football Club. I wanted to share this story with you that I thought shows the strength and power of women that was told to me during our catch up.
Their latest additions to the Dripping Pan are female pirates from the 18th Century in the form of a beautiful 8 ft high statue by sculptor Amanda Cotton. Back in the 18th Century women were not allowed on the sea as it was deemed unlucky and supposedly affected their reproductive system. This is a true story of trailblazing seafarers lovers Anne Bonny and Mary Read. Many stories are attached to this piece - like how very young women dressed as boys to escape poverty in London and Ireland respectively to join pirate ships; how they got lashed but couldn’t be healed without revealing gender; how they met and joined forces to become unstoppable, commandeering ships around Jamaica; got pregnant to avoid hanging; about their individual personalities expressed via marine concrete; and how these stories are undertold and buried in history.
“Anne Bonny & Mary Read were true life 18th century pirates lost in history. Inexorable brings their personalities back to life.
Sculpture ‘Inexorable’ is a metaphor for Bonny & Read’s personality, Fire & Earth. Individually they are strong independent individuals but when Bonny (Fire) & Read (Earth) combine they are dangerously unstoppable. Bonny’s passion fuels Read’s determination and Reads’s patience channel’s Bonny onto a path. Together they erupt like an inexorable volcano, they are the: ’Inexorable: Hell Cats.’
Inspired by their individuality yet incredible bond, Inexorable is not about their appearance but what's in their heart and their heads.
In order to highlight their forms, passions, significant features and overall bond the four elements of life, (water, air, fire & earth) naturally became essential characteristics to my sculpture.
Representing their 'freedom of the high seas' they stand with their backs to the land and I have physically allowed sea air to flow through the sculpture-like it did their veins.
Anne Bonny is best represented by fire matching an unpredictable personality. Bonny has fire in the belly, a curvaceous, fluid form resembling a flame and luscious fiery locks. Gems and shiny details represent Bonny's magpie characteristics and love for luxurious clothing.
Earth represents Mary Read's methodical, layered personality. The mountain symbol across Read’s back illustrates scars; a statement of Read's identity and representing not only inner strength but a calm, controlled, powerful nature. Read’s form is structured, rectangular and grounded.
They are independent. They do not need each other, they want each other. For this reason, I felt it was important to subtly connect them and very slightly tilt their heads inwards to capture their love." – Artist, Amanda Cotton. http://www.amandacotton.co.uk/inexorable
“Why are they at a football ground? Well that’s another story! But suffice to say, we are happily deconstructing the false narratives about women being bad luck at sea, or not being able to play proper football. And my goodness are we proud to have the combined forces of these formidable historic characters watching over us! The statue is not called ‘Inexorable’ for nothing” - Karen Dobres.