Fearless Women of Flint honored in newly commissioned sculpture

FLINT, Michigan — The MW Gallery has commissioned a new sculpture to honor strong and powerful Flint women. “Magic Ladder Kid VI,” by artist British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare incorporates the names of 20 powerful Flint women, past and present. 

A part of the Mott-Warsh Collection, the newest sculpture will be celebrated at a reception honoring Fearless Women of Flint from 2-4 p.m. June 1. 

The sculpture stands just under 10 feet tall and features a mannequin dressed in Dutch wax printed cotton, a common medium used by Shonibare, climbing the underside of an angled ladder. The rungs of the ladder are made from books, each with the name of a Flint woman inscribed on the binding. It is one of several “Magic Ladder Kids” sculptures created by Shonibare, an award-winning and internationally-known artist.

“His sculpture encourages us to keep pursuing our goals even when it appears we are without (physical) support; and it reminds us that if we look around, we’ll find role models in our midst. That’s a message that is relevant to people in Flint and  in cities across America,” said Stephanie James, curator and collection educator of Mott-Warsh Collection.

The women honored in the piece have had a significant impact on Flint and beyond. Included are Helen Boulware-Harris, Odell Broadway, Viola E. Bray, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Betty Carter, Gloria Coles, Sarah Emma Edmonds, Dolores Ennis, Flint Women’s Emergency Brigade, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha,
Rev. Jennie Johnson, Harriet Kenworthy Pamela McGee, Margaret E. McLaren, Ruth Rawlings Mott, Claressa Shields, Edith Prunty Spencer, Maria Smith Stockton, LeeAnne Walters, and Mayor Karen Weaver.

Shonibare’s work explores issues of race and class through painting, sculpture, photography and film.  

To RSVP for the reception, call 810-835-4900 or email [email protected]. The program will begin at 2:15 p.m.

The MW Gallery is the permanent home of the Mott-Warsh Collection. It is located in downtown Flint at 815 S. Saginaw St. Hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. It is open until 9 p.m. during Second Friday Art Walks.

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