Lady Justice was commissioned by Alachua County for their Public Defenders Office in Gainesville Florida. Dedicated June 19, 2019Bronze figure with stainless steel bowls | Dimensions: 55"h x 96"w x 33"I had a listening session with the Lawyers in the PDO to understand how they viewed their profession so I could translate their passion and the purpose of this office into this sculpture far better than I ever could have alone. This is a summary of our journey together. The Symbolism of Lady Justice The concept of Lady Justice holding the scales of "equal justice" can be traced back to ancient Egypt. The Italian Renaissance of the 15th century introduced the blindfold for "blind justice" and carrying a sword for "swift justice". It was my intention from the beginning to reinterpret Lady Justice in a more contemporary way for the Public Defenders of the PDO. The scale: I saw "equal justice" as the dominate symbol for the Public Defender's Office so it needed to be more than just holding the scales in its classic form. This Lady Justice is the scale holding each of the dishes in each hand. The blindfold: In my conversation with the Public Defenders believed it was their job to "see" their clients. They needed to really understand the history of their clients and understand who they were as individual's to best represent them. This was consistent with my belief that this Lady Justice should not be blindfolded. They needed to see their clients and their clients need to know that they were being seen as individual. My original design had Lady Justice is seated cross-legged indicating she is prepared to listen and have a conversation. But, our conversation added two elements to the artwork: Lady Justice's eyes are at the eye level of the average American adult to facilitate eye contact which indicates a willingness to understand and connect, and, her head is turned slightly to the right to look in the direction of people as they approach from the street as an opening to begin the "seeing". The sword: The sword as symbol for "swift justice" was something I was sure they did not want as it was added as a symbol by kings and tyrants for intimidation purposes. However, the PDO lawyers talked about how they were continually "fighting" for their clients, so we re-purposed this classic symbol as a sheathed sword on her belt, ready for a fight if necessary. They even asked me to add some battle scars on her to symbolize their battles for justice. I did. Also, note I added heavy distressing to the sheath suggesting the sword has been passed on from one Warrior/Lawyer to the next. The words: To aid in the re-purposing of the sword symbol I felt the need to add a very short phrase on the cross guard of the sword to describe the swords purpose, in short, their "battle cry". I asked them to choose a phrase they all might use as they charge on to the battlefield of the court room (Think Mel Gibson in Braveheart) They selected "FOR THE DEFENSE". Perfect! From the beginning I envisioned the words "Equal Justice" to be displayed prominently on the front of the pedestal base. I kept getting resistance to the phrase and came to understand they felt it was so commonly used among their peers as to no longer hold the power it should. The PDO lawyers selected a more appropriate and powerful quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
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