A giant, gold testament to pro-abortion advocacy is set to be displayed at the University of Houston for the bulk of 2024.
The statue, called NOW, depicts a nude woman-like figure with goat horns, tentacle arms, and a lace collar around her neck. The 8-foot-tall figure is meant to pay homage to the late pro-abortion U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
“The luminous figure is a nod to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, as seen in the detail adorning her collar. With Ginsburg’s death and the reversal of Roe, there was a setback to women’s constitutional progress,” sculptor Shahzia Sikander wrote in her artist statement.
“The figure’s hair is braided into spiraling ‘horns,’ which mimic the movement of the arms and express the figure’s sovereignty and autonomy,” she added.
“Femininity to me is the tension between women and power: how society perceives such a dynamic and how erasure is enacted by the social forces that shape women’s lives. Throughout literature, the notion of the female has been in conversation with the visible/invisible divide, the feminine as the monstrous, the abject, the fecund, the immense, and the vulnerable.”
Texas Scorecard reported that the statue’s features could reference Ashteroth, the ancient Middle Eastern deity of sexuality and prostitution, associated with the Greeks’ Aphrodite and the Romans’ Venus.
Ashteroth is mentioned in the Bible, with Hebrew scholars today believing the moniker “is a deliberate conflation of the Greek name Astarte and the Hebrew word boshet, ‘shame,’ indicating the Hebrews’ contempt for her cult,” per Brittanica. “Ashtaroth, the plural form of the goddess’s name in Hebrew, became a general term denoting goddesses and paganism.”
The sculpture NOW and its counterpart Witness make up the installation Havah… to breathe, air, life, initially erected in New York’s Madison Square Park. At the end of this month, the statue is to be displayed in a prominent courtyard at the University of Houston from February 28 to October 31.
UH’s executive director and chief curator of public art, Dr. Maria C. Gaztambide, released a statement regarding the decision to bring the statue to the public university:
“With Havah… to breathe, air, life, Shahzia [Sikander] demonstrates how justice is conceptually and actively vibrant across cultures and genders. And yet, while the necessity of justice is universal, it is often blindly applied. Shahzia brings to the fore the imbalances of gender and race through this exceptional work. We are proud to join forces with Madison Square Park in bringing it to fruition, while amplifying its reach beyond New York City.”
The decision has raised eyebrows among Christians who consider the statue a public display of paganism and satanism: Timon Cline, editor-in-chief of the Christian magazine American Reformer, decried the statue in an interview with The Dallas Express.
“The intended message of the Medusa statue is clear: state-sanctioned, taxpayer-funded paganism. Now, this message is, apparently, on a national tour. It is no coincidence that just as testaments to our national history, a Christian history, are being reviled and quite literally demolished, monuments to the successor religion are being promoted. Heroes are being displaced by mythological monsters.”
Cline extended his criticism to question the values of the University of Houston and the dissemination of far-left morality in higher education more broadly.
“The University of Houston’s participation in this charade is beyond shameful. Any institution of higher learning worth its salt should recognize the inversion of Western tradition and morality represented in this statute. And that’s the point for all Texans: they do know what they’re doing. Such institutions are no longer worthy of support. Their incongruence with the American way of life is increasingly apparent.”
Texans exercise instructive control over the University of Houston through the governor’s office and the State Legislature. The university is a taxpayer-funded entity managed by a board of regents appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott and confirmed by lawmakers.
Student anti-abortion activists affiliated with TFP Student Action have already issued a call on the social media platform X for the public to oppose the statue’s display on campus.
“Action alert: Texas values are not New York City’s woke ‘values.’ Tell the University of Houston NOT to Display Satanic-Looking Abortion Statue on Campus – TFP Student Action.”