Monuments are the trademark of any city. Sometimes tourists have to travel thousands of miles just to see them. For example, in 2016, 4.5 million people went to Ellis Island to see The Statue of Liberty. So, when monuments are made, not just for decoration, but in order to communicate an important idea, they attract an incredible number of people.
5 Fun Facts is inspired by the sculptors who are able to communicate their ideas without words.
1. Memorial to the 96 murdered members of the Reichstag
This memorial is located right next to the Reichstag. It commemorates the names of the 96 parliament members who didn’t join the Nazis and paid for it. Most of them died in the period from 1933 to 1945. Only one man, Georg Wendt died in 1948 (he died because of the consequences of being in Brandenburg prison). There were 90 men and 6 women among the parliament members.
2. Passage 1977–2005
Right in the center of the Polish town Wrocław, there is a collection of statues of bronze people that are going underground on the side of the road and on another part of the road, it looks as if they are appearing from underground. The artist responsible for this installation called Passage 1977–2005 is Jerzy Kalina, a famous Polish sculptor and artist. In 1981, the country was in a difficult political crisis and this intersection of streets was the place where many demonstrations took place.
Some people see the void in this sculpture as something that a traveler wants to fill and others think that people leave a part of themselves in every place they have ever been to. But Bruno Catalano doesn’t reveal the true meaning of his works to anyone. He “put” similar sculptures in many towns of France and called this series Travelers.
4. Merchant Navy Memorial
In order to create this sculpture, Bryan Fell used a method that is similar to what is used in shipbuilding — where they connect different parts with buttons. And at first sight, this statue looks like it’s a ship. This installation commemorates the sailors of merchant ships that died at different times during wars or were killed by criminals. They risked their lives every day just to provide other people with food and all the other things they needed.
5. We won!
During World War II, it wasn’t just machines that helped the USSR soldiers travel huge distances. Animals did too, including some exotic animals — like camels. The most famous of them were Miska and Mashka that survived the entire war and traveled all the way to Berlin. After the victory, the animals were in the spotlight and many different stories were told about them. The heroes continued to live in the Moscow zoo after the war ended.
6. Square Head
In 1996, the government of Nice opened a competition for the best sculpture to be placed near the central city library. The project that looks like a square head won. It symbolizes the ordinary patterns of thinking that books help to overcome.
7. Children of the siege of Leningrad
During World War II, Omsk was one of the biggest cities where the people from the sieged Leningrad were evacuated. The people from Omsk met the scared children and warmly accepted them to their families. To commemorate these really sad times, in 2014, a sculpture of 3 scared children was built. They are holding the most valuable things they have: a violin, a kettle, and a doll.
8. Girl with umbrella
On May 30, 1999, during a public festival, a thunderstorm started. More than 2,000 people tried to hide from the weather in an underground pedestrian crossing. Because there were so many people in such a tight space, 53 people died. The girl with umbrella in the park is a sculpture dedicated to the memory of this tragedy.
9. Crypto Connection
This monument is about the age of cryptocurrency. It was set in London and ordered by Eidoo. According to the sculptor Federico Clapis, the sculpture symbolizes the future generation that will appear in the age of using digital money. A child in their mother’s womb already knows how to use a smartphone.
10. Old man cleaning cobblestone
When Vienna was occupied by the Nazis, they made the Jews go outside and clear the anti-Nazi mottos from the cobblestones. To commemorate this event, there is a statue of an old man in the center of the capital of Austria. By the way, originally, there was no barbed wire on the statue, it was added later to prevent tourists from sitting on top of the statue.
11. Knife Angel
Alfie Bradley encourages people from Liverpool and all the visitors to be more careful with knives and weapons. He created an angel using 100,000 confiscated knives given to him by police stations. Now, the weapons that used to make people suffer are a bright reminder about crime that can infect a city and the entire planet.
12. Fetus development in the womb
At the entrance of one of the medical centers of Qatar, there are 14 bronze sculptures. Every single one of them shows a different stage of the development of a fetus in a mother’s womb. English sculptor Damien Hirst wanted to show the journey a person makes even before they are born. Interestingly, according to the author, this is the first sculpture of a naked person in the East.
13. Quantum Man
The Quantum Man sculpture consists of more than 100 vertical steel pieces. It symbolizes the world of quantum physics. The author explains the dualistic nature of matter: the figure seems solid because it is made of steel but once you change your perspective, the person disappears. Perpetuality is really deceptive.
14. Broken Chair
In Geneva, right in the middle of the street, there is a 39-foot broken chair with an amputated leg. The idea is simple: to remind the politicians that wars injure and kill people.
15. Fearless Girl
This statue was set in New York in 2017 and it was ordered by the State Street Global Advisors. The monument of the girl who fearlessly looks into the eye of a furious bull was originally commissioned to promote gender diverse companies. The plaque in front of it says: “Know the power of women in leadership. SHE makes a difference.”
In 2018, a sculpture that every Internet user will easily recognize appeared in one of the most popular squares in Milan, XXV Aprile. The sculpture shows a like. The inscription on the wrist says, “The most important thing in life is like.” The memorial encourages people to go back to real life and pay less attention to the world of social media.
17. Woman on maternity leave
Maternity leave is no walk in the park. It’s quite the opposite, a young mother has to deal with a lot of problems and tasks that she needs to solve every day, without any days off. The people from the cultural association of the Spanish town Torrelavega tried to communicate this idea with his installation.
Which of these sculptures is the most eloquent, in your opinion?
Preview photo credit Stéphane Magnenat / wikimedia