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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 14 November 2018

New York's Fearless Girl statue given stirring makeover by Parkland parent

The famous statue was given a bulletproof vest to raise awareness of gun control issues.

The fearless girl is a symbol of female strength, standing opposite the famous statue of the Wall Street bull. William Volcov/ Brazil Photo Press
The fearless girl is a symbol of female strength, standing opposite the famous statue of the Wall Street bull. William Volcov/ Brazil Photo Press

The Fearless Girl statue in New York's financial district was dressed in a bulletproof vest on Friday in a protest against gun violence.

The vest, bearing the words "fearful girl", was placed on the statue by Manuel Oliver, the father of Joaquin Oliver, one of the 17 victims killed in the Parkland school shooting in February.

Oliver now runs activist organisation Change the Ref, which seeks to inspire young people to take creative and artistic action for causes they believe in.

For the organisation's latest awareness stunt, the statue created by Kristen Visbal and commissioned by State Street Global Advisors was adorned with the vest for an hour before police were called.

Tweeting a picture of the stunt, Change the Ref wrote "She can't be fearless if she's afraid to go to school".

Following the Parkland shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School earlier this year, some survivors have become outspoken advocates from gun reform.

Just weeks after the incident, the students, along with other survivors of school shootings, arranged March for our Lives, a protest which saw thousands of young people take to the streets to demand protection from guns at school and elsewhere in their lives.

Work is very much still to be done, especially in the run up to the midterm elections. As the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh indicates, the problem of mass shootings in the US persists and persists.

So far in 2018, 297 mass shootings (shootings killing or injuring more than four people in one incident) have occurred in the US.

The Fearless Girl's latest attire is just one part of the statue's story. It was installed on International Women’s Day in March 2017 to stand opposite the Charging Bull Statue, and represents the fight for gender diversity on corporate boards.

However, Arturo Di Modica, the artist who installed the Charging Bull statue in 1989, wasn't a fan of his statue's young playmate.

His lawyer told media earlier this year that the placement of the Fearless Girl statue changed the meaning of Di Modica's work, saying the bull "has been transformed into a negative force and a threat.”

The statue is so popular however, that it will be moved to a new permanent location opposite the New York Stock Exchange in a matter of months.