The #Metoo Medusa that watches over the New York Criminal Court of Justice

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The statue of the Argentine artist Luciano Garbati turns this tragic Greek myth upside down. Now Medusa holds the head of Perseus, the man who originally beheaded her

Medusa was not always a monstrous woman with a gaze capable of turning any man to stone. She was a beautiful woman who was sexually abused by Poseidon, the lord of the seas … And as sometimes happens, both in Greek mythology and in the reality of the 21st century, the victim herself was blamed for the crime: goddess AthenaInstead of punishing the great Poseidon, in a fit of jealousy he transformed the young woman into a demon with a hair of poisonous snakes. Medusa she hides, but is hunted down and beheaded by Perseus, the legendary hero of Olympus, who shows his head as a trophy. Something that unfairly served him to be idolized for all eternity. But What would happen if Medusa kills Perseus now?Would it also be a triumph?

That custom of shaming and blaming the victims in the stories of sexual abuse resonates through time, both in that fragment of The metamorphoses of the Roman poet Ovid as in our days. However, the new statue of Medusa, by the Argentine artist Luciano Garbati (Buenos Aires, 1973) turns the tragic Greek myth upside down. The jellyfish, exposed in front of the Criminal Court of Justice of New York, the same place where the producer was sentenced to 23 years in prison for sexual abuse and harassment Harvey Weinstein, she now holds the head of Perseus, the man who originally murdered her. An inverted version of the famous statue Perseus with the head of Medusa, sculpted in the 16th century by the artist Welcome Cellini and exhibited in the Piazza della Signoria in Florence, Italy.

The eyes of the “Argentine Medusa”, associated with the world-renowned movement of the #MeToo which began in October 2017 to publicly denounce producer Harvey Weinstein, are the focal point of this controversial six-foot-tall bronze statue. Unlike the Perseus of the 16th century, the Medusa of the 21st century has a look loaded with courage and does not seek ephemeral success; It shows the attitude of a woman who fights to defend herself until the last consequences. An idea that supports Bek Andersen, artist and photographer behind the work. “I hope this represents what it is like to survive a sexual assault. Medusa can help people to have a vision that there is no shame in speaking out and demanding justice, ”she reflects.

The Medusa, originally made of resin, was kept in a studio in Buenos Aires for 10 years. And it was not until 2018 when it was popularized by a photo that the sculptor himself posted on social networks. The figure, criticized by some feminist groups for the absence of pubic hair, is part of the MWTH Project and the program Art in the Parks NY, until April 30, 2021.

The data on violence against women are devastating in the 21st century. Physical or sexual violence is a public health problem that affects more than a third of all women worldwide, according to a report published by the World Health Organization (WHO). The study reveals that one in three women in the world has suffered physical and / or sexual violence, in addition to that about 35% of all women will experience violence at some point in their lives.

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