EMILY WILLIAMSON – Longlisted for RSPB sculpture
Emily Williamson was a forward thinking, kindly and truly inspirational woman – but I see this statue as also celebrating woman-kind and animal-kind as a whole. I’m known for taking on challenging projects and giving a voice to those people and causes that often lie hidden or have been silenced throughout history.
Here, Emily Williamson is freeing a bird from her hand. Her stance is strong yet gentle, her expression and the tilt of her head show kindness yet stoic qualities. As the viewer’s eye travels down the figure, the lower section of the piece acknowledges the environmental and social aspects of Emily’s work.
From a distance her skirt will look like an ordinary crinoline dress with a bustle, but close up it’s an organic cliff face; a nesting ground depiction of the birds she worked so hard to save from the plumage trade. These birds will be lifelike and miniature, nesting within the folds of the dress as if in their natural environments. Can you spot, for example, an owl, kingfisher, snowy egret, penguin and a fledgling?
Also hidden within her dress/landscape are small scenes/dioramas depicting other women relevant to her story – for example Eliza Philips, Etta Lemon and the Duchess of Portland, who, together with Emily Williamson, built the early RSPB.