Toppling Statues is emphatically a book of the moment. The tumultuous world events of 2020, COVID-19 and the killing of George Floyd, suddenly and dramatically made public monuments to monarchs, empire builders, politicians and merchants highly controversial. This applied especially to any perceived relationship that they had with slavery and imperial conquest. Should they stay or should they go? Or is there a viable third way, to retain and explain them? In response to this, the Public Statues and Sculpture Association (PSSA) held an immensely successful public webinar, ‘Toppling Statues’, co-hosted with The Burlington Magazine.
Toppling Statues comprises a selection of papers from this 2020 webinar. These essays have multicultural reach and a multi-disciplinary approach embracing art history, heritage, history and art practice. Edited by Majorie Trusted with Joanna Barnes, the book comprises a foreword by Philip Ward-Jackson and essays by Jean Wilson, James Hall, Roger Bowdler, Helen Paul, Jonathan Black, Paula Murphy, Mary Ann Steggles, Edwin Fountain, Ian Morley, Alexander Adams and a contribution by the Nigerian artist, Sokari Douglas Camp.
Toppling Statues combines scholarship with readability, both deepening our knowledge of the many issues involved in this complex and urgent debate.