Story By: Georgina Jadikovska, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash
A controversial wooden sculpture of a big-breasted water nymph has come to the attention of German politicians who claim it might cause some men at the swimming pool where it is located to get overexcited, and who have asked for it to be removed.
In recent years many Germans who swimming pools have been the subject of sex attacks and the unveiling of the statue recently is now regarded as inappropriate in the modern climate.
That is why now the four-metre (13,1 ft) high and one ton (2,000 lbs) heavy water nymph sculpture named “Loretta” has become a subject of heated debate almost one week after it was unveiled at a public pool in the German city of Freiburg.
“Loretta” was created by German sculptor Thomas Rees, 61, after the Freiburg pool’s swimming association made a EUR 2,500 (GBP 2,139) order. The cash to pay for it was collected through donations for the purpose of decorating the outdoor facilities of the pool.
Artist Thomas Rees said: “I carved the outdoor figure in four weeks. Hundreds of people were amazed by it.”
However, the oak sculpture which according to German politicians looks like a busty naked blonde might be dismantled after a protest took place in which Loretta’s bare chest was covered by tape by protestors.
First Police Chief Inspector (EPHK) Laura Riske, 43, said: “We are investigating property damage.”
According to SPD parliamentary group leader Julia Sohne “the sculpture is sexist and does not fit in a pool where women want to move freely far from any physical norms.”
She said: “We demand its removal!”
In addition, City Councilor Pia Federer, 63, from the Greens said: “This sculpture is inspired by male fantasies and it does not belong in a public space.”
The artist on the other hand disagreed with the two women and told Newsflash: “Sexism? By portraying a bare-chested wooden water nymph? Our politicians should really deal with other problems.”
Thomas added: “There is condemnation and a shitstorm before the artist was even heard. Maybe it’s because of the upcoming election campaign.”
Atai Keller, 68, from the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) reported that the sculpture placement was not discussed beforehand with the city art commission which regulates sculpture installation in public places.
Thomas however maintained that the discussion was pointless saying: “All of this frustrates me. The sculpture shows a water nymph. Under it we can see the ancient Greek god of the shepherd’s, Pan, who was considered a lecher and stands for what is no longer allowed to happen in today’s world. The nymph symbolizes female liberation over male dominance.”
Meanwhile, the consequences for those who approved it have already started after the board of the swimming association has apologized through a letter to all the members and has offered a resignation.
The debate comes against a background in which there have been several cases where immigrants have been banned from public swimming pools after they sexually harassed women in the cities of Cologne, Berlin and Munich.
There were no reported cases more recently because of the pandemic forcing many pools to close, but posters in several languages showing that women wearing bikinis are not looking for sex have been put up at several pools in different German cities ever since the incidents were first reported.