Pakistani-American artist installs 'Lady Justice' sculpture outside US court

'Havah' is a sculpture made by Pakistani-born American artist Shahzia Sikandar

Entertainment Desk January 30, 2023

'Havah,' a sculpture made by Pakistani-born American artist Shahzia Sikandar, stands in front of a courthouse in the United States as a representation of 'Lady Justice'. The statue is the first representation of a woman to sit atop one of the ten pedestals located at the prestigious New York Appellate Courthouse in Manhattan.

Speaking to The New York Times, Sikandar described the idea behind her new art piece. "Standing among Moses, Confucius and Zoroaster is the shimmering, golden eight-foot female sculpture, emerging from a pink lotus flower and wearing Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's signature lace collar," she shared.

She further added, "The sculpture was part of an urgent and necessary cultural reckoning underway as New York along with cities across the world, reconsiders traditional representations of power in public spaces and recasts civic structures to better reflect 21st-century socials and more."

As per the aforementioned publication, her creation was titled NOW because it reflects the time when women's reproductive rights "were under siege after the US Supreme Court in June overturned the constitutional right to abortion."

Witness, another sculpture made by Sikandar, sits inside Madison Square Park, New York. The statue depicts a monumental female figure measuring 18 feet tall, sporting a hoop skirt inspired by the courtroom's stained-glass roof.

"The figure's twisted arms and legs suggest tree roots, referencing what the artist has described as the 'self-rootedness of the female form; it can carry its roots wherever it goes'," explained Sikandar, while talking to a global magazine named Time Out. She is also referred to as the best outdoor artist in New York by the same American journal.

"The image of justice as a woman has been present for centuries, but women only gained a juridical voice in the last one. Despite years of women's struggle for legal socio-economic and political equality, gender bias still continues to create barriers for many women, whether it is health and education rights, equal economic opportunities, gender-based violence and race or class discrimination," detailed Sikander in her artist statement.

Have something to add to the story? Share it in the comments below.


Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ