The recent addition of an unusual eight-foot golden statue atop a New York state courthouse in New York City is causing a stir with some questioning what exactly the statue represents.
The statue of a horned female was recently installed on top of the Courthouse of the Appellate Division, First Department of the Supreme Court of the State of New York. It stands alongside other sculptures depicting historical, religious, and other legendary lawgivers, all of them men.
The female sculpture with hair braided like spiraling horns was installed as part of an exhibition that opened last week.
It’s the first female statue to adorn one of the Appellate courthouse’s 10 plinths, dominated for more than a century by now weathered statues representing great lawgivers throughout the ages — all of them men.
The figure is a part of a project on the theme of women and justice for an exhibition titled Havah…to breathe, air, life, according to Madison Square Park.
Shahzia Sikander, who created the sculpture, says it supports women’s rights, abortion, and the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, as seen in the statue’s special collar.
Sikander, a 53-year-old Pakistani American artist, writes, “The luminous figure is also a nod to RBG – as seen in the detail adorning her collar. With Ginsburg’s death and the reversal of Roe, there was a setback to women’s constitutional progress.”
Sikander made multiple versions of the statue that appear in several public locations in New York City. In her sculptures, the allegorical figures have their eyes wide open. They wear a decorative jabot at the neckline, referring to the lace collar popularized by Justice Ginsburg and the feminization of the black judicial robes traditionally worn by male justices of the court.
Sikander said the sculpture on top of the courthouse was part of “an urgent and necessary cultural reckoning” in cities like New York that are reconsidering “traditional representations of power in public spaces.”
A new statue atop a New York City courthouse. The artist says it’s part of an “urgent and necessary cultural reckoning underway as New York reconsiders traditional representations of power in public spaces and recasts civic structures to better reflect 21st-century social mores.” pic.twitter.com/4IFRj7hCsf
— Andrew Beck (@AndrewBeckUSA) January 25, 2023
“The female body has a face with its hair braided into spiraling ‘horns.’ The horns mimic the movement of the arms and are there as a symbol of the figure’s sovereignty, and its autonomy,” Sikander wrote in her artist statement.
“She is a fierce woman and a form of resistance in a space that has historically been dominated by patriarchal representation,” the artist told The New York Times.
Sikander said the work was called “NOW” because it was needed “now,” at a time when women’s reproductive rights were under siege after the U.S. Supreme Court in June overturned the ruling that invented a federal right to abortion.
New York at the Forefront Fringe of Abortion
As CBN News has reported, the state of New York has been at the forefront of so-called “abortion rights.”
In 2019, the state passed The Reproductive Health Act that removed restrictions on late-term abortions, allowing unborn babies to be aborted despite being fully formed and viable, all the way up until the day of birth. The law erased New York’s previous limitations on abortion which restricted the fatal procedure past 24 weeks.
Last June, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) even went out of her way during an address at the Great Hall of Cooper Union in New York City to demean individuals who take a pro-life position.
“This is the United States of America, where freedom and liberty are supposed to mean something,” Hochul said. “It’s the rock upon which we were founded. It is supposed to mean something. Except in the eyes of some Neanderthals who say women are not entitled to those rights.”
Critics Call It ‘Satanic’
Sikander also said her “Now” sculpture was not intended to replace or cancel anyone but was aimed at feminizing the 127-year-old building. She noted in her statement, “Allegorical representations of women abound in the murals and sculptures throughout the courthouse.”
Others say the statue’s symbolism of a horned woman sprouting from a lotus flower appears to be satanic. Satanists and The Satanic Temple often use imagery of Satan having goat-like horns.
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The sculpture has received some backlash from social media users.
“What a visual desecration of the landscape,” one user wrote.
Another commented, “The destruction of tradition must include the desecration of landscape.”
“I wasn’t a fan of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, but even she deserves better than that ugly, satanic-looking eyesore,” one user said.
Another Twitter user also commented, “It looks like something you’d see at a satanic ritual.”
‘Eve Is Also the First Law-Breaker, Right?’
The “Now” sculpture has an 18-foot sister statue called “Witness” on display in New York’s Madison Square Park. The sculpture includes a hoop skirt inspired by the stained-glass dome of the nearby courthouse, symbolizing the need to “break the legal glass ceiling,” according to The Times.
Written on the sculpture is the word “havah,” which she said means “air” or “atmosphere” in Urdu and “Eve” in Arabic and Hebrew, the outlet reported.
According to the Art Newspaper, Sikander interprets the term ‘havah’ as meaning “to breath, to add air, to change a narrative, to add some space,” she says. “Eve is also the first law-breaker, right?”
The Bible tells us when Eve disobeyed God, sin entered the world. And that’s not exactly something Christians celebrate, much less honor with a statue.
All of Sikander’s sculptures will be removed in June when the exhibit travels to Houston, Texas.