Netflix reinterprets historical statues with addition of ‘overshadowed’ sisters

All images: © Netflix UK & Ireland/Twitter

Promoting a new film which explores the fictional story of Enola Holmes, sister of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s world-famous detective Sherlock Holmes, Netflix has unveiled several statues of ‘overshadowed’ sisters adjacent to existing monuments of their well-known brothers.

The global streaming giant has installed gold statues detailing the achievements of women including the sisters of Charles Darwin, Amadeus Mozart and Thomas Hardy as part of its latest marketing push.

While the campaign is of course solely designed to promote the new movie, it has inadvertently tested the viability of reinterpretation of public art through addition rather than removal.

In a recent feature exploring the debates prompted by this summer’s Black Lives Matter demonstrations – which saw statues of Edward Colston and Robert Milligan removed from public spaces – Dr Errol Francis, artistic director and CEO of arts diversity charity Culture&, discussed the idea of reinterpreting items with colonial histories through new responsive artworks.

He pointed to the approach taken by Yinka Shonibare in his National Gallery shows Mr and Mrs Andrews Without Their Heads (1998) and Scratch the Surface (2007) as highly successful examples.

“When people are discussing removal, we should be steering the conversation onto reinterpretation because destroying pieces of history sets a dangerous precedent,” Francis told Advisor. “This kind of methodology would be really good.”