A monumental 20m (67ft) Damien Hirst statue titled, ‘Verity’, that was submitted to Ilfracombe council for planning permission, has been approved by the local council. Despite furious opposition by locals, the installation will now go ahead. It was reported at the meeting that the sculpture of a pregnant teenager had attracted over 100 letters of objection.
In a statement the council’s planning officer said; “The proposed development represents an important capital project for Ilfracombe and has the potential to act as a catalyst for further investment. “In planning for the town’s future the granting of planning permission for ‘Verity’ would demonstrate a positive approach to innovation that would add to the overall tourism offerand make a progressive contribution to local character and distinctiveness.”
Objectors to the work of art complained that it was: immoral, bizarre, obscene, offensive, disgusting, distasteful, embarrassing, grotesque, disrespectful, insensitive, inappropriate, a monstrosity, tasteless, ugly, vulgar and not in good taste and outrageous. Supporters called it; ‘thought provoking’, stirring and unique; a beautiful, strong, controversial icon with the power to transform the town’s future; beautiful, creative design of world class merit; controversy over design will generate positive publicity; the sculpture challenges our perceptions and creates a dialogue.
The bronze sculpture which depicts a nude woman holding a sword aloft, has been offered as a loan for 20 years, by the artist. Hirst also owns a local restaurant in the area. It is expected that the work will attract tourists to the area.
North Devon planning committee approved the application on Wednesday. Work is expected to start on the site at the town’s harbour front later this month. The sculpture is expected to be installed in October around the time of the Frieze Art Fair.