Socially responsible art has been on an upswing over the last several decades.
Artists and sculptors are using their voices to address historical atrocities, the imbalance of power, and other pertinent movements within modern society. It is always interesting to see the ways in which various societies address serious conversations. Here are a few sculptures to visit on your travels.
Expansion: New York City.
Sculptor Paige Bradley created a beautiful representation of what it is like to be human. She asks us to look more closely at a world that defines us by our race, gender, ability/disability, color of our skin, or the overall vessel that contains each of those things. The bronze statue features a woman seated in a lotus pose, face looking skyward, with light cracking through her torso and emanating from within. It begs the question of the viewer: Are we more than our bodies and if so, who would you be without your container?
The Shoes on the Danube Bank: Budapest, Hungary.
Before going to see this instillation you might want to prepare yourself for the emotional impact. This was created to memorialize the Jews killed during World War II. The victims were ordered to remove their shoes before being shot at the water’s edge, so that their bodies would be carried away by the current. To represent the moment of horror that occurred on January 8, 1945, the artist created sixty pair of period-appropriate shoes cast out of iron and lined them along the embankment.
The Knotted Gun: Turtle Bay, New York.
This piece, created by Swedish artist, Carl Fredrik Reutersward, was created as a memorial tribute to John Lennon. It has since become a worldwide symbol for the non-violence movement. Though the original is located in New York, there are now several replicas of the piece in various locations throughout the world.
Les Voyageurs: Marseilles, France.
French artist Bruno Catalano created a series of sculptures in Marseilles that shows realistic human workers with large chunks of their bodies missing. The sculptures are thought-provoking in that they question whether the workers are missing something or if they are choosing to leave a piece of themselves behind. What is particularly interesting about the design is that the sculptures appear to stand with very little support, which gives them a somewhat other-worldly feel.