Sat, Jun 23, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Monkey business in Chiayi City as stone sculpture found vandalized

FOUL PLAY:The stone sculpture of a monkey, by artist Tsai Yung-wu, was damaged, prompting councilors to ask if public art will be donated in future

By Wang Shan-yan  /  Staff reporter

The stone sculpture of a monkey entitled Shuaige — “handsome guy” — by renowned sculptor Tsai Yung-wu is seen in Chiayi County on Thursday.

Photo: Wang Hsi-yen, Taipei Times

The Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Chiayi City Government has come under fire after a sculpture of a monkey, donated to the agency by renowned sculptor Tsai Yung-wu (蔡永武), was recently vandalized.

Chiayi City Councilor Cheng Jun-heng (鄭俊亨) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lashed out at bureau Director Hung Meng-kai (洪孟楷) during an interpellation session at the Chiayi City Council on Thursday, accusing the bureau of a complete lack of awareness that marks had been chipped into the sculpture, which is displayed near the city cultural center’s music hall.

“In light of the bureau’s failure to safeguard [donated] artworks, how could any artist dare to contribute their creations?” Cheng asked, urging the cultural bureau to place greater emphasis on the preservation of displayed art pieces.

Tsai donated the stone monkey, which is called Shuaige (帥哥), meaning “handsome man” in Mandarin, to the cultural bureau during the city’s annual “Outdoor Stone Monkey Exhibition” in 2006.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the public unveiling of Tsai’s sculpture was held at the time, with Chiayi Mayor Huang Ming-hui (黃敏惠) being invited to preside over the event.

However, Tsai’s monkey was recently found to have been defaced — the word yuan (緣), or fate, was scratched on it using a pointed tool.

During an on-site inspection on Thursday, Tsai expressed deep regret over the damage, which he had repaired.

In response to the vandalism, the bureau urged visitors to behave responsibily and cherish artistic work.

However, it said it had no plans to install warning signs or to prohibit people from approaching outdoor.

Translated by Stacy Hsu, staff writer

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