“Sexist” and “offensive”. Statue that evokes Italian peasant provokes indignation

The sculpture is inspired by a poem from the 19th century that tells a historical episode that featured a peasant woman from Sapri, a village in southern Italy. Inaugurated on Saturday, Emanuele Stifano’s work was unveiled in the presence of former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and was received with fury among defenders of gender parity, who consider it “offensive”. The argument is that the bronze woman, carved in a very tight-fitting transparent dress, represents “a sexualized body” that does not even honor the “historical meaning” of the event it evokes.

The poem “The Gleaner of Sapri”, written by Luigi Mercantini, narrates a failed attempt at an insurrection against the Bourbons, in 1857, in which a woman who worked in the cereal fields in the region located in the province of Salerno participated. The peasant was famous for having abandoned everything to participate in the revolt led by Carlo Pisacane, one of the heroes in the struggle for independence in Italy at the time.

On Twitter, Democratic Party (PD) deputy and former Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Laura Boldrini did not hide her indignation: “How can institutions accept the representation of women as a sexualized body? Machismo is one of Italy’s evils,” he wrote.

Equally critical was party colleague and senator Monica Cirinná, who even called for the statue to be removed. “This statue says nothing about the self-determination of those who chose not to work to join the fight against the oppression of the Bourbons”, she accused, a demand supported by the women of the Sicily PD.

“I am shocked and horrified,” wrote Emanuele Stifano on Facebook. In his defense, the sculptor guarantees that he is being accused of “things that have nothing to do with” himself and his path.

“When I make a sculpture, I always try to cover the human body as little as possible, regardless of gender”, it can be read, and, “in this case, as the work was going to be on the edge, I took advantage of the sea breeze to give movement to the skirt. long, thus putting her body in evidence”. For the artist it was not important to make “a faithful portrait of a peasant from the 1800s, but rather to represent an ideal of a woman, to evoke her pride, the awakening of a conscience, everything, in a moment of great passion”.

Indifferent to the controversy, one person came out in defense of the work, the president of Sapri, Antonio Gentile, for whom the work “was performed with mastery and with an impeccable interpretation”.

Source: Expresso by expresso.pt.

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