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Bexhill: Vandalised black woman sculpture cleaned by locals

Bexhill: Vandalised black woman sculpture cleaned by locals

A sculpture of a black woman spray-painted white by vandals has been cleaned by locals invited to take part in an act of "peaceful resistance".

The sculpture, outside the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill, was attacked on Monday, the arts centre said.

Supported by the artist Tschabalala Self, it invited people to help clean it on Sunday, with hundreds turning up.

A statement from Ms Self, which was read out, said: "Painting the skin of my sculpture white is an obscene act."

She added: "I feel horribly for individuals in Bexhill-on-Sea for whom this event may have shocked or frightened."

The three-metre high sculpture, entitled Seated, is of a black woman, looking out to sea, contemplating life.

The artist previously said it represented "all individuals... who understand the power and importance of simple gestures that assert their right to take up space".

'Abhorrent act'

The vandalism follows a spate of damage to other parts of the terrace, including glass panels on the stairway leading down to the promenade.

Howard Martin, of Bexhill Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, said it was "abhorrent act of vandalism of a fantastic piece of public art" but he "could not say or judge" whether it was an act of racism.

"That's for the police or courts to decide," he said.

The pavilion, supported by the artist invited local people to help clean the artwork in "an act of peaceful resistance"

But Stewart Drew, chief executive of De La Warr Pavilion, said: "I think it's pretty obvious what has happened here, isn't it? Tensions are running high in the town for various reasons."

However, he said Sunday saw "positive community action" as hundreds turned up, forming a queue to clean the artwork.

One participant told the BBC: "One feels sad that somebody would take the time and effort to deface this sculpture in a very racist way."

Sussex Police said it had received a report about the vandalism and urged anyone with information to come forward.


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