Verity’s wow factor

I have visited Ilfracombe twice this week. I went to see Verity while she was lying in the car park on the pier, to see for myself what the controversy was about. I then returned on Tuesday after work, specifically to see her being put in place.

Unfortunately, I was too late to see her being hoisted upright but was there to witness the rest of the installation until she was finally released from her bonds. The fact that I refer to her as “her”, not “it”, suggests that I approve. I was feeling the “wow factor”.

The truth, as I see it, as symbolised by her name and existence, is that I can understand people’s challenge to embrace her, particularly the anatomical half.

The media coverage that I saw before my initial visit seemed to focus on the exposed foetus, almost suggesting a defacing of a vulnerable child and mother, so surely the reality of this half seems less offensive. In my opinion, this is the most poignant aspect of the statue and represents a dichotomy of human nature.

I can see why she has sparked debate, and everyone is entitled to an opinion, but give yourself a chance to see what reaction is provoked in yourselves by visiting.

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The positioning of the statue means that, if you choose not to view the “peeled” half, unless you approach from the sea you will have to make an effort to venture into the pedestrian areas from where it is visible.

Alternatively, stay away and ignore her – you choose.

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PS I can see no indication of Verity’s employment status. Maybe some of the contributors to the various letters pages could enlighten me as to how Damien Hirst has depicted this in his artwork, because I cannot spot it. It would be disappointing to think that the ‘on the dole’ comments were purely gratuitous.

Thank you, Verity, for your inspiration,

Pam Hicks


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