Hirst statue given 20 year home in Ilfracombe
16:50 06 September 2012
North Devon Council has agreed to accept the loan of Damien Hirst’s 67 foot sculpture for Ilfracombe Pier.
A BRONZED lady will be catching the autumn sun on Ilfracombe Pier this October after North Devon councillors agreed to the 20 year loan of Damien Hirst’s Verity sculpture.
The council’s executive committee agreed today (Thursday) to accept a ‘unique opportunity’ to have Mr Hirst’s 67 foot statue installed at the entrance to the harbour because its believes this will enable Ilfracombe ‘to compete on a different level as a tourism destination’.
The artwork is named Verity – from the Latin for ‘truth’ – and depicts a naked pregnant woman standing upon a plinth of law books, carrying scales and holding a sword aloft.
Little time is being wasted in her installation, with groundworks set to begin on September 16, the sculpture itself to arrive on site around October 3 and after assembly, to be hoisted in to place on October 17 or 18.
As with other statues created by the artist, one side of the figure depicts skin peeled away to reveal the anatomy underneath, including her unborn child.
Planning permission for the sculpture was granted yesterday, with the applicant – Damien Hirst’s not for profit organisation For Giving CIC, describing the statue as a ‘modern allegory of truth and justice’.
Since plans for Verity were first unveiled, Ilfracombe and North Devon have been strongly divided – supporters believe it will be a huge boost for the town and its tourism, while others branded it offensive or ‘not in keeping’ with Ilfracombe.
“There has been a lot of controversy around the possibility of the statue coming to Ilfracombe,” said Ilfracombe district councillor and ward member Paul Yabsley after the planning decision.
“In fact, controversy is what gives it strength, which will benefit the town. It will be a catalyst for growth, attracting attention and more visitors in the same way art has contributed to St Ives.
“Through projects like this, it will provide opportunities for our young people who want to stay in the area as they are our future.”
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