Statue a ‘pet project’

It’s not a statue, but Mary Raine was memorialised in mural for her philanthropy, including leaving her property portfolio to UWA to fund a medical research foundation following her husband Joe Raine’s early death through a stroke. Mural by Jerome Davenport, photo from Raine Square

THERE’LL be no new woman statue in the CBD for now, with Perth council narrowly voting not to pursue a new monument to honour women.

Perth deputy lord mayor Sandy Anghie put up a motion that council invite submissions for statues to commemorate significant women in Perth’s history, to offset the overwhelmingly male lineup of current statues. 

She acknowledged while it wasn’t the most pressing problem in the city, the imbalance should be addressed to tell women’s stories for future generations. 

The motion was supported by councillors Clyde Bevan, Liam Gobbert and Viktor Ko.

But they were voted down by lord mayor Basil Zempilas, councillors Di Bain, Brent Fleeton, Rebecca Gordon and Catherine Lezer.

Cr Gordon said “I respectfully suggest that we focus on these more pressing problems and stop wasting administration’s time with pet projects”.

She said “just last month this council considered and approved council policy 4.8: Public Art, to guide the delivery of all City of Perth public art projects and programs and inform public art projects delivered by others within City of Perth boundaries.

“This policy seeks to be inclusive, and acknowledges and celebrates diversity. This policy is a strategic way of elected members having input on what art appears in our public spaces. One survey carried out by one elected member considering one type of artistic medium should not be a decider in pursuing additional expenditure when a properly considered and approved council policy already exists.”

Cr Gordon said statues were a relic of the past and there were more modern ways to honour women, like the recent mural of philanthropist Mary Raine in Raine Square, commissioned by the square’s owners.

Cr Anghie said the statue could be funded by contributions from corporate donors, community groups donors or other levels of government, but it wasn’t enough to tip the chamber’s mood.

by DAVID BELL

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