The Bronze Woman is many things – she is the first public monument of a black woman in England, a symbol of the contribution of Caribbean, and indeed all, women to society and proof that people who have the courage to pursue their dreams can inspire others to great achievements. The Bronze Woman Monument was revealed in South London’s Stockwell Memorial Garden on October 8, 2008.
Bronze Woman unveiling video
Rocky filming, but a clip regarding London's first public statue of an African-Carribbean woman was unveiled on 8th October 2008 by a chosen circle of women. It was inspired by a poem called Bronze Woman, written 30 years ago by Cécile Nobrega. A keynote speech was given by the Rt Hon Baroness Scotland of Asthal QC - the countrys first woman Attorney General. Following this, the Monument was unveiled by a Circle of Women of Caribbean origin who have made significant contributions to British society. The Circle comprised: Cécile Nobrega; Contemporary Artist Anissa-Jane; entrepreneur Sonita Alleyne, OBE; Baroness Rosalind Howells of St Davids, OBE; community activist Jessica Huntley; Kanya King, MBE, founder of the MOBO (Music of Black Origin) Awards; diversity expert Brenda King, MBE; equal rights campaigner Doreen Lawrence, OBE (mother of Stephen); and community campaigner Sybil Phoenix, MBE. It also included Tanisha Haynes, a pupil from Year 5 at the nearby St Mark's Primary School.
A very special day celebrating the contribution of Caribbean people to British society and the strength and achievements of women everywhere.
Olmec helped Cécile realise her ambition by taking on the project to create the Monument. Following the statues unveiling, Olmec will establish the Bronze Woman Legacy Programme. This will underpin an educational initiative for young people and schools in south London, focusing on the arts, heritage, history, literature, conservation and citizenship.
The Bronze Woman sculpture of an African-Caribbean woman holding aloft a child was created to celebrate the contribution of the Afro-Caribbean community to the Capital, on the 200thanniversary of the end of the transatlantic slave trade in 2008.
The Bronze Woman sculpture was supported to fruition by the Bronze Woman committee, Olmec a race equality organisation, following Cecile Nobrega’s ten-year quest to see this project through.
Internationally renowned sculptor Ian Walters was commissioned to handle the project in 2005 before the completion of his statue of Nelson Mandela which now stands in Parliament Square. Walters completed a two foot high maquette (pictured) of The Bronze Woman before he died in 2006. Aleix Barbat, graduate of Heatherley’s School of Fine Art completed the sculpture in 2008.
"I believe it is important not only for the black community, but for all the people of the United Kingdom to acknowledge the past and the values we share; and to acknowledge how much we owe each other. The Caribbean - its past, present and future - is a subject very close to my own heart and I was delighted to be part of this tremendous celebration".
"This year it has been a pleasure and a privilege to meet Cecile and support the third anniversary of the Bronze Woman sculpture. Hyde Housing has a strong presence in Stockwell and this year we wanted to celebrate Black History Month in a way that recognised the achievements of women in relation to Stockwell’s history. This beautiful sculpture erected in the heart of this community very much symbolises the past and present struggles that many women have, and continue to encounter and find ways to overcome."
Helen Redd, Regeneration Manager
"I feel honoured to have been part of an event commemorating a landmark in the celebration of ethnicity in the UK. The Bronze Woman truly is a symbol of change, diversity, and most importantly; remembering the forgotten plight of a woman's struggle."
Haroon Anwar, Performer
"First of all I’d like to say that Mother Cecile’s Poem (Bronze Woman) really inspired me to write my poem.
I’d also like to thank Auntie Annetta from Olmec for giving me the opportunity to participate in such an important event.
I have met talented people such as Haroon, the Saxophone Musician, Poppy seed, The Mayor of Lambeth but most of all, I met Mother Cecile. Thank you."
Siham Osman, Performer Aged 10
"It was a privilege to have had the opportunity to contribute and support the Bronze Woman event. The beautiful Bronze woman statue, the poem and all the untold stories behind this historic event, to me it is a distinctive part of the history of Stockwell and its people. It is a legacy that should be carried on by all of us, regardless of where we are from.
This event pays a tribute to all woman past or present who have suffered, struggles and survived for a better life in which their future generation can shine.
Moreover, it was such an hounor to have met Mother Cecile a graceful and talented lady, who indeed has left a mark, with her extraordinary poem and she will always be remembered. Finally I would like to thank all for the opportunity, especially sister Annetta, whom I have great respect for her strong vision and how well she has represented the Bronze woman and the event."
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Last updated: 03 December 2013