Forbes unveils late sculptor Stone’s statue of Sojourner Truth

  • Statue of Sojourner Truth unveiled at Forbes Library made by Greg Stone. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Eliza Araujo, left, and Martin Jones take picture of a statue of Sojourner Truth unveiled at Northampton’s Forbes Library on Thursday. STAFF PHOTOS/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Statue of Sojourner Truth unveiled at Forbes Library made by Greg Stone. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Meghan Stone, niece of Greg Stone, and her son Connor Stone, 8, unveil a statue of Sojourner Truth made by Greg Stone at an event at Forbes Library, Thursday afternoon. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

Staff Writer
Published: 11/15/2018 10:36:52 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Two Northampton icons found a home in the Forbes Library when Gregory Stone’s statue of Sojourner Truth was unveiled there on Thursday.

“I think it’s great,” said Rocky Stone, Stone’s older brother, following the event. “As a family we’re very, very happy this event took place.”

The unveiling was done by members of the late sculptor’s family and followed a presentation on the life of Truth, a former slave and noted orator and activist who for 13 years called Northampton her home.

“She’s a woman for our time,” said Wendy Sinton, a member of the Sojourner Truth Memorial Committee who participated in the presentation.

The bronze statuette is the first work by Stone in the library’s collection of art, as well as the first one to depict Truth.

A painter and sculptor, Stone died at 69 in 2016 of cancer. The sculpture “Hope,” unveiled in 2016, which stands in front of the courthouse in Northampton, was the last sculpture of Stone’s to be unveiled to the public.

Dylan Gaffney, of Forbes Library information services, however, knew that a plaster cast for Stone’s submission for the contest to design a statue of Truth in Florence was still in existence. That contest was won by sculptor Thomas Jay Warren, who designed the sculpture of Truth that can be seen today at the corner of Pine and Park streets.

“My sculptures are a people who in my mind deserve recognition. Sojourner Truth is certainly one of those people,” said Gaffney, reading from Stone’s submission to the contest, prior to the unveiling.

The statuette now stands near the library’s Sojourner Truth shelf.

“It’s perfect,” said Lisa Downing, Forbes Library director.

“At last, a woman of color standing in the midst of a room with all these white men,” said Carol Rinehart, a member of the Sojourner Truth Memorial Committee, who also spoke at the talk on Truth before the unveiling.

Rinehart said that she thinks that Truth would have gotten along with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

“That’s a nice thought,” said Sinton.

Gaffney and Downing said the sculpture is also part of the library’s effort to diversify its art collection, which was also purchased from Stone’s family.

Gaffney grew up in Northampton and knew Stone. He said that seeing a painting of Truth by Stone in the home of a family member got the wheels turning for the year-long process to bring the sculpture to the library. He was also there in Chelsea to see the statue’s casting in bronze.

“I think it’s kind of fitting,” said Rocky Stone, on his brother getting to have his sculpture in the library, after not winning the contest.

He said he didn’t know what the mold for the statue was when it was storage.

“I just moved it,” he said.

He also said he was told to save all his brother’s casts.

“Who knows, another one might appear,” he s   aid, on the prospect of a future new Stone sculpture.

Bera Dunau can be reache d at bdunau@gazettenet.com.

 




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