Madonna and Child
Public Work

London, England

Anonymous installation

Material: metal, paint, plastic, anchor bolts

Brad Downey’s oddly touching Madonna and Child, for which he added a baby speed-limit sign alongside a lone “parent” sign, defies our expectations about the functionality of “street furniture”. Already three years old at the time of writing, the installation’s resilience stands, as its biblical title ironically implies, as a protective symbol for all the unloved and defunct street furniture that governments are so keen to put up, but not remove. And in the very intimacy of the title, the piece challenges the euphemistic coziness and domesticity that the term street furniture suggests, all the while that these structures are designed to deter any loitering, or worse, corrode any sense of home for the homeless.
Jennifer Thatcher