The whys of Verity

I have to write again in regard to the possible erection of Damien Hirst’s statue on the pier in Ilfracombe.

Leonard Hill in his letter of August 15 identifies with Jean Dove’s letter of July 18 in stating that a pregnant woman’s body should not be seen as offensive.

What is clearly missed by Jean Dove and Leonard Hill is that people don’t find a pregnant woman’s body offensive. From the many people I have talked to about it, they don’t even find it offensive in a work of art.

What is offensive is a giant statue, which is truly meaningless to Ilfracombe town, taking the place of either beautiful fresh air or, in many people’s opinion, a more representative and exciting structure.

Just because I and others suggest that the structure should have links to Ilfracombe’s maritime past doesn’t mean that we are stuck in the mud of the past.

Take Antony Gormley’s Angel of the North, which is still hated by some people. However you cannot deny that it has links with the north in as much as it looks rusty and industrial.

Yet the fact that it is so simple and described as an angel creates in my mind a good feeling. It certainly works for me.

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Next, try the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth – designed by architects. A beautiful structure representing a sail but very futuristic, and it is so in keeping with Portsmouth.

When I became aware of the possible erection of this statue, I looked on the internet for comments. There were some for it, but not many.

I estimate that five were against it for every one for it. However, the best comment that I read which was against it was “Why?”.

I think that sums it up totally, but perhaps I should add “How?” How can anyone in their right mind think that particular statue is right for Ilfracombe’s pier?

It seems to me that most people who want the statue are only thinking about money that it might bring to the town and not its suitability.

As I see it, because it’s connected with Damien Hirst that presses the “Yes, we will have it regardless” button in many councillors’ eyes.

The final decision about this statue is planned to be made by North Devon Council on Wednesday, September 5.

This last part is addressed to North Devon Council planning committee: I put it to you that there are many people, in my opinion well over half the population of Ilfracombe, who positively hate the thought of the Damien Hirst statue being placed on the pier.

Whilst many have stated their case in the papers, there are a far greater amount of people against this who for reasons of their own have not had the time to complain.

It’s my opinion that if you pass the planning for this statue you will do Ilfracombe and North Devon a huge injustice.

If it is passed, I believe that the bad feeling created will be far more counterproductive to Ilfracombe than any suggested financial gain.

Robin Goodwin


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