The serene green park in the centre of St James’s Square is currently also hosting a bronze sculpture of a mother and child, representing victims of sexual violence.

From a distance, it looks like any modern statue might look in a park, and even looking at it won’t easily show off what it represents other than obviously a woman and child. It’s only when you read the small sign at the bottom that the real meaning of the horror it represents becomes clear.

Called Mother and Child, it was designed by the British artist, Rebecca Hawkins, and depicts a mother and her child trapped by the roots of a Strangler Fig tree, a plant native to Vietnam, which is wrapping its branches around them, refusing to let them go.

The sculpture was commissioned by Justice for Lai Dai Han, an organisation that campaigns on behalf of the thousands of women who were allegedly raped by South Korean soldiers during the Vietnam War, and unveiled in June 2019, and installed in the park a few months later.

Its placement here in a calm quiet park where people pause to munch on their lunches a reminder of the horrors of war.


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