London's first public statue of an African-Caribbean woman has been unveiled as a memorial to women in the Caribbean community. The 3m (10ft) high Bronze Woman statue of a woman holding a baby has been installed in Stockwell Memorial Garden, south London. The anonymous figure is based on a poem of the same name by Guyana-born Cecile Nobrega, who lives in Stockwell. The statue comes after a 10-year-long campaign by Ms Nobrega. Olmec, a community investment foundation, raised £84,000 funding and found the sculptors and a location for the statue. The statue was unveiled by a "circle" of women of Caribbean origin including artist Anissa-Jane, Baroness Rosalind Howells OBE and Music of Black Origin (MOBO) Awards founder Kanya King.
An initial model of the statue was first designed by sculptor Ian Walters, who also created the Nelson Mandela statue in Parliament Square in 2005. Following his death in August 2006 the project was completed by Aleix Barbat, a final year sculpture student at Heatherley's School of Fine Art in London. Olmec director Tanzeem Ahmed said the monument was "a tribute to the diverse communities that make up British society and a symbol of the potential of women everywhere". The installation of the statue marks the 60th anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush ship to Britain carrying 500 West Indian immigrants, and the 200th anniversary of the end of the transatlantic slave trade.
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