La Pasionaria - Instagram Series on Glasgow's Statues and Sites to Women

On our Instagram we are doing a series on Glasgow’s Women, picking out statues and sites around Glasgow that help showcase memorable women who have had an impact on the city.

One of the first in the series is La Pasionaria.

The ‘La Pasionaria’ statue stands facing the river Clyde, raised 3 meters high on an iron girder, the figure outstretched towards the sky.

The statue was erected in 1979 and created by the sculptor Arthur Dooley commissioned by the International Brigades Association of Glasgow. It uses the figure of Dolores Ibárruri to commemorate the British individuals that volunteered to fight in the Spanish Civil War against the rise of fascism.

Ibárruri (1895-1989) often known as her pseudonym ‘La Pasionaria’ (The Passionflower), was an influential communist politician and activist who fought against fascism during the Spanish Civil War 1936 – 1939.

An engraving underneath the figure states “Better to die on your feet than live forever on your knees”, which is one of the phrases Ibárruri became known for as a great persuasive orator. Along with ¡No Pasarán! (They Shall Not Pass!), issued during ‘The Battle for Madrid’.

She founded Mujeres Antifascistas in 1933, a women’s group that protested war and fascism. And speaking to her fame, in the same year a soviet astronomer named an asteroid after her.

Ibárruri lived in exile from Spain and was only able to return in 1977, where she continued her political career up until her death in 1989 at 93 years old. She campaigned for legislation to improve women’s conditions, and working, housing and health circumstances, as well as seeking land reform and rights for trade unionists.

The sculpture seeks to memorialise this historic tie between Scotland and Spain, where thousands of men and women volunteered to fight against fascism, 534 of whom died, 65 of them from Glasgow. In doing so it also serves to highlight Glasgow’s history with communist political leanings, as with the Red Clydeside movement of the early 20th century.

I would have liked to see it in bronze as was originally proposed, instead of the more affordable fiberglass, but as one of Glasgow’s few statues to named women it draws attention to a fascinating individual and an interesting piece of Scottish History.

Keep an eye out for more in this series from our group, where we will seek out our own sites to memorable women. If you have any statues, sites or characters you would like to see, let us know!

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Thistles & Dandelions is generously supported by Heritage Lottery Fund