Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—or RBG as she came to be known—achieved the status of living legend during her lengthy public career. The late Justice's passing has inspired many recent tributes—including social media posts and public art, which acknowledge her groundbreaking jurisprudence. On March 15, 2021, renowned artists Gillie and Marc will unveil a bronze statue of Ginsburg at City Point in Brooklyn, the borough where Ginsburg was born in 1933. Planned for the Justice's birthday and during Women's History Month, this dedication is part of a larger project by the artist duo to bring gender parity to the statues of New York City.
History is full of legendary women; however, these pioneering ladies rarely receive statues in their honor. As of 2019, New York City's 150 public statues included only five honoring real-life women. The prolific public artists Gillie and Marc have been working to change this through their Statues for Equality project, which launched on Women's Equality Day in 2019. Adding 10 new sculptures that year—including Oprah Winfrey, Janet Mock, and Jane Goodall—raised the percentage of women represented from three to 10 percent of total statues. The statue of Ginsberg builds upon this recent work, further increasing women's representation.
By casting bold women and femmes in bronze, their achievements will be celebrated in public in a way formerly reserved for classical figures and white men. “In order to truly honor the cause, it was crucial we cast the statues in bronze,” Marc said regarding the 2019 project. “To have one’s likeness cast in bronze is an unmistakable message that your contributions should not, and will not be forgotten. Instead, they will live on, much like the statue itself, beyond your lifetime and the lives of your contemporaries.”
RBG's achievements will certainly resonate with future generations. As one of only nine women in her entering class at Harvard Law School, Ginsburg went on to teach law and she founded the Women's Rights Project at the ACLU in 1972. Her work on cases promoting gender equity helped establish many of the rights women (and men) hold today. After her appointment by President Clinton to the Supreme Court, Ginsburg's signature lace collars became a symbol of strength and resistance to many. Now, with much of Ginsburg and second wave feminism's victories in jeopardy, her statue may serve as inspiration for young children to continue the fight for equal rights for all.
You can learn more about the New York City and global public artwork of artists Gillie and Marc on their website.