Putting women on pedestals doesn’t come easy these days. Statues that pay homage to them continue to disappoint.

I thought we hit bottom in 2020 when British sculptor Maggie Hambling unveiled her memorial to feminist leader Mary Wollstonecraft undressed, without a stitch. You don’t see tributes to notable men stripped bare like that.

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Then, last year, there was a salute to women in Italy's history who resisted the oppressive Bourbon rule in the 19th-century. Sculptor, Emanuele Stifano’s carving showed a skimpily clad female figure with the scant clothing clinging so snugly that she may as well be bare.

Now comes the latest statue to hail a woman: an effigy of Lorraine Hansberry, the first African-American female playwright to see her dramatization of racially-segregated family life (“Raisin in the Sun”) produced on Broadway. The statue will go on view in Times Square on June 9 and later tour the U.S.

I want to like this work. Its title, “To Sit Awhile,” was taken from a famous line in the last act of “Raisin in the Sun” – “Never be afraid to sit awhile and think.” But according to the artist, the statue has nothing to do with Hansberry’s playwriting.

Say what?

ArtDaily quotes sculptor Alison Saar saying that the Hansberry commissioned was to render a “portrait of her passion and who she was beyond a playwright.”

If by her “passion,” Saar means her civil rights activism, I don't see it in her seated figure staring into space and holding a candle.

The pose is too passive and too stiff to convey any state of mind, much less "passion."

What's more, that "beyond a playwright" slant is unexpected since the commission came from a playwright Lynn Nottage, and Julia Jordan, who directs the Lilly Awards for women in theater.

In a phone interview with Art Daily, Nottage extolled the virtues of Hansberry’s playwriting: “If I needed to look to structure, or storytelling, or inspiration, I could go to ‘A Raisin in the Sun,’ this perfect piece of literature.” See?

Nothing "beyond" theater is going on here.

Saar is adding five bronze chairs for viewers to “sit and think” with the statue – again making reference to the play “Raisin in the Sun.”

But here’s the thing. Even if the monument was just about sitting and thinking, there’s no sign of pondering here. I’m not asking for a female version of Rodin’s “The Thinker, which is pitched forward as if in deep thought.

But picturing Hansberry seated ramrod staring straight ahead just doesn’t look contemplative.

Instead of chairs, why not have Hansberry reading a newspaper with headlines about police killing African-American men like George Floyd and Michael Brown? I suggest this given this unforgettable dialogue in "Raisin in the Sun":

— It's dangerous, son.

— What's dangerous?

— When a man goes outside his house to look for peace.

Hansberry wrote those lines in 1959, but the way things are going for Black men today, they could have been written yesterday.