A sculpture, taller than the Angel of the North, of a pregnant teenager by the YBA artist Damien Hirst has been unveiled in lfracombe North Devon. The bronze, sword-wielding depiction is a modern allegory representing truth and justice. The work is half on and half off the bone, as the sculpture is anatomically dissected on one side revealing the entrails, unborn foetus and skull of the female figure. It was hoisted upright by a crane onto a plinth located on the pier overlooking the harbour. The 65ft (20m) statue, called Verity has been loaned to the town by Hirst for 20-years.
The work has divided this small community like one of Hirst’s calfs in a vitrine. 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. But despite objections the statue is now here to stay. One of the locals described the work as ‘Revolting’ adding “and now I’m going too have to look at this monstrosity every day”!
Damien Hirst was born in Bristol in 1965. He studied Fine Art at Goldsmiths, University of London from 1986 to 1989 and is considered by many to be the leading figure of the group known as “Young British Artists”. The YBAs are characterised by their entrepreneurial spirit, independence and their ability to manipulate the media.Hirst dominated the art scene in Britain during the 1990s. His early career was closely linked with the collector Charles Saatchi, however over the last few years Hirst has distanced himself from this association. Hirst’s work explores the uncertainty at the core of human experience; love, life, death, loyalty and betrayal. His work has been exhibited widely,in Britain, the USA, Australia, and Europe. Work is included in many public and private collections.