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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Belly of the South: Bumpy reception in seaside town for Hirst's 'disgusting' 65ft pregnant woman


Dropping in: Damien Hirst's bronze statue of a pregnant woman, called Verity, has arrived in Ilfracombe, Devon

Some call it the Angel of the West; others deride it as the Belly of the South.
But, whether they like it or loathe it, the people of Ilfracombe are now the custodians of this giant Damien Hirst sculpture – and they’ll be looking at it for the next two decades.
The 25-ton bronze statue of a heavily pregnant woman holding a sword, arrived in the Devon seaside resort yesterday on a flatbed trailer.

Huge: The statue is to be placed on the harbour front and stands at 65ft and weighs over 25 tonnes

Hundreds of residents came out to catch their first glimpse of the work, which will take more than a week to assemble and install.
Fans call it a ‘modern allegory of truth and justice’, but many townsfolk say it is ‘obscene and disgusting’.
On one side the woman’s skin is peeled back, revealing her skull, muscles and foetus – bringing accusations that the work is grotesque.

Complaints: Some local residents are upset about Verity, calling her obscene and claiming she could encourage teenage pregnancy

It wasn’t long after it arrived that residents took to the internet to voice their opinions. One said: ‘Whatever did Ilfracombe do to deserve this?’
Another added: ‘Why did he have to make her naked? Pregnant women wear clothes most of the time.’
A third said: ‘Melt it down and get Anthony Gormley to create a suitable sculpture for Ilfracombe, where families spend their holidays.’

Crowds: Fascinated people stand and watch as the bronze figure arrived on a huge lorry

Gormley’s 66ft Angel of the North was erected in the North-East in 1998.
Hirst’s 65ft statue, called Verity, has been loaned to the local authority by the artist for 20 years and will stand by the town’s pier.
Dozens wrote to the council to object, with one saying it would ‘encourage teenage pregnancies’.
Another said it was ‘demeaning to women’ while a third claimed it was ‘eccentricity posturing as art’.
Resident Jenny Cookson was rather more blunt: ‘It is a monstrosity,’ she said. Councillors say the statue will boost tourism and improve the town’s image.
Verity’s frame is a single piece of stainless steel.
The bronze exterior was cast in more than 40 pieces while the sword and upper arm are made from a single piece of glass fibre reinforced polymer.

Standing tall: How the sculpture will look, left, and right, it's controversial artist Damien Hirst,

Nearly there: When in place Verity will be taller than the Angel of the North

source: dailymail


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