"I think that conversations about lived experiences, about intersectionality, about where we belong and in what categories other people see us and in what categories we see ourselves, need to be part of that nuanced discussion about where do women fit in? And where are these new spaces where we can now inhabit?" Matthews said.
"The exhibit that is shaking up the landscape movement is now open to the public." Savannah Sellers
"The purpose of a sculpture or a statue is usually to literally put someone up on a pedestal. The discussion is who are you idolizing and why?" Amanda Matthews
Artist Amanda Matthews said, "Nellie Bly was a transformative figure in modern history. Highly regarded as America's first investigative journalist, she dedicated her life to understanding the plight of those who exist in the margins and dismantling systems of oppression.
She is best known as a champion for women and girls and opposed the notion of women as subordinate by powerfully rewriting this narrative. The Girl Puzzle monument honors the title of her first published work in 1885, a bold and unvarnished response to bigotry, and her life-changing experiences in the Blackwell Island Women's Asylum (now Roosevelt Island) that shaped her life of dedication and empathy for others."
"'One of the things I’ve been told,' Matthews said, 'or heard through the construction fence more than anything else, are people who walk up and say, ‘Oh my gosh, that looks like me.’ That was especially true for Cutia Bacon Brown, who was the inspiration for one of the statues. 'She put braids on the statue!' Brown said of Matthews, her longtime friend. 'I have braids in my hair every day and the statue has braids!' ... 'I will be immortalized, on a world stage, as a Black woman in America,' Brown said. 'And how often does that happen?'"
"Men dominate the field of large-scale sculpture, especially," said Ms. Matthews, "when it comes to the foundries, metal suppliers and engineers." But women such as Ms. Matthews are challenging the norm and pursuing projects honoring women.
The Girl Puzzle listed 3rd of 9 worldwide projects: "Bly's work is being commemorated with the unveiling of The Girl Puzzle, a sculptural installation by artist Amanda Matthews of Prometheus Art. Appropriately situated on Roosevelt Island, the series will debut this summer and will feature five seven-foot tall female faces, including one representative of Bly. According to the artist’s statement, each bronze-cast piece 'shows the depth of emotion and complexity of being broken and repaired,' a challenge that Bly overcame at the asylum."
PP 106-107 Amanda Matthews
"Sculpture was born out of my need to have more depth in my paintings. Once I started sculpting, I thought, "Wow, where have you been all my life? I feel at home--all the things people say when they've found their calling."
I didn't realize how male-dominated the field was. When I became an owner of the foundry, I just thought, "This is a business. I didn't realize I'd be, as my father says, " as rare as hen's teeth" in this industry."
Governor Andy Beshear announces, "Kentucky artist Amanda Matthews to construct permanent Team Kentucky COVID-19 Memorial"
The memorial artwork – titled “United We Stand. Divided We Fall.” – will commemorate Team Kentucky’s losses and sacrifices since March 2020 and remind future generations of the challenges Kentuckians overcame – together.
Kentucky Lieutenant Governor Jacqueline Coleman announced plans to install a sculpture of 20th-century educator Nettie Depp in the state Capitol. The bronze likeness, set to be unveiled next August, will be the historic seat of government’s first statue honoring a woman.
“[S]even years before women earned full voting rights in Kentucky, Nettie Depp advocated for improved education for every Kentuckian, regardless of their gender or their race,” said Coleman on August 5, as quoted by Sarah Ladd of the Louisville Courier Journal. “She was a true visionary in education reform and she was also a suffragist.”
Ms. Matthews said she had been inspired by the persistence shown by Ms. Dunnigan, who died in 1983. “I think we should have more diverse heroes, and Alice Dunnigan should be one of them,” she said.
A bronze statue of Dunnigan will appear from Sept. 21 to Dec. 16 in Washington at the Newseum. The 6-foot-tall, 500-pound bronze statue, made by Kentucky sculptor Amanda Matthews, portrays the reporter clad in one of a handful of her good dresses and scuffed pumps. She holds a 1947 copy of The Washington Post with headlines about civil rights. The statue is based on a photo of Dunnigan standing on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in 1947.
BBC World News Service, "The ‘hidden’ work of pioneering journalist Alice Allison Dunnigan"
NPR, All Things Considered, "Alice Dunnigan, First Black Woman To Cover White House, Gets Statue"
American History TV – C-SPAN3, "African American Journalist Alice Dunnigan presentation at Truman Library and Museum" (Presented 15 minutes of content)
AP News Washington, "First black female White House reporter gets Newseum statue"