A wooden sculpture by Amancio Gonzalez Andres entitled ‘Musician’ featured at the Izmirspor metro station in western Turkey was smashed by a local man who called the statue “obscene”, Hurriyet News reported on 27 May 2016.
Sculptor Andres told Birgün newspaper on 27 May 2016 he condemned the attack on his art piece and that it “is actually an indication of a weakened government”.
“Art encourages individual thinking and enriches us in the humanitarian sense,” he told the newspaper. “An attack against art is actually an attack on everyone’s freedom; totalitarian regimes have always seen art as the first enemy.”
Metro authorities said in a statement that the suspect pushed the statue to the floor and broke it to pieces. He was apprehended in the station soon after the incident, reported Hurriyet News on 29 May 2016.
The man is believed to be a member of the socially conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP), reported The Turkish Sun on 27 May 2016.
The ‘Musician’ statue has become controversial since April 2016 when Emrulla Kavuz, a member of the AKP held an “unauthorised” demonstration to cover up the sculpture, which features a nude man playing a flute, Hurriyet News reported.
Another effort by a 98-year-old man, who claimed to have made the trip to Izmir from his home in eastern Turkey, was made when he covered up the work with a white cloth and secured it with a chain.
Metro representatives expressed surprise that the work just now garnered negative attention after being on display for over four years. The sculpture was created by Andres as part of the 2012 International Sculpture Competition set up by the Izmir municipality. Municipality authorities stated they would repair and re-erect the sculpture with the help of the artist.
According to Hurriyet News, various sculptures have been removed in the country over the last year, including the AKP removing some female statues two months ago because “they conflicted with public morals”.
Photo of the sculpture in the Izmirspor metro station before it was smashed shared on the artist’s Facebook profile page via Işık Teoman’s Facebook page
» Hurriyet Daily News – 29 May 2016:
Izmir municipality pledges to re-erect naked ‘Musician’ statue
» Hurriyet Daily News – 27 May 2016:
“Obscene” sculpture attacked in Turkey’s Izmir
» The Turkish Sun – 27 May 2016:
Man who smashed naked Izmir statue allegedly AKP
» Birgün – 27 May 2016:
Andres statue suffered attack in Izmir
» Artsfreedom.org – 12 May 2016:
Turkey: Art exhibitions cancelled, a troubling trend