A monumental sculpture of a reclining female form carved into the earth, dubbed “Lady of the North”, has sparked much controversy in the English city of Cramlington. Some complain of the huge waste of taxpayer’s money (an unfounded critique, considering the work’s funding through the private companies Banks Mining and the Blagdon Estate). Others say “Why not an amusement park as a tourist attraction instead?” (despite the disruption of environment caused by a land form sculpture and an amusement park, the former is overall more environmentally friendly and beautiful than the latter).
But the criticism that caught my attention the most is a statement made by Bob Downer, chief executive of Blagdon Estates, who listed as one of the complaints he had received from the local populace “Some people think it’s wrong to have a female figure, and others think she’s some sort of pagan symbol, even though Mother Earth is part of cultures all over the world.” Groups of evangelicals declared it was “promoting paganism over Christianity.” Add all this to the insistence of Banks Group that “there was no intention to make a Pagan figure or mimic any ancient fertility symbols.” My question is: “What is so wrong about the female form? About Pagan traditions? About the Feminine Divine?”
Even if the artist did not intend to create an artwork honouring the Divine in Her original form, why must she be defended against accusations of promoting Paganism, as if Paganism is wrong? I wish someone would make accusations against groups promoting Christianity. I’m really sick of seeing Jehovah’s Witnesses on my doorstep.