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Wednesday Oct 08, 2014

Artist resumes Durban elephant sculptures at last

The four-year wrangle over Durban's elephant sculptures has ended and work resumed this week.

A partial steel frame of one of the elephants.

Internationally acclaimed artist Andries Botha and the eThekwini Municipality confirmed yesterday that he was back at work on the site near the Warwick Avenue interchange.

The municipality commissioned Botha to create the three-elephant sculpture in 2009 for the 2010 World Cup, but in February that year, he was ordered to stop.

It was alleged that work was halted after an ANC politician complained that the elephants were an IFP symbol.

Botha applied to the court for a review of the decision to stop the project and the matter was eventually settled out of court.

When the work was stopped, the structures were vandalised and the steel frames were stolen.

Botha said he was relieved that the issues had been resolved. 'I am elated and relieved that I can finally finish this work which has taken almost five years to complete.'

He explained that a fourth elephant had been added to the sculpture which was in line with the original concept and design.

'It was always supposed to be a herd of elephants moving towards Durban - that was the original concept. But when it was commissioned, the city wanted it to be complete by the World Cup and we could only complete three. When I discussed it with the city again, it was agreed that a fourth be added.'

He said the city had agreed to provide security for the art work because of the earlier vandalism.

'Security is important because the municipality should protect the ratepayer's investment.'

In a recent statement, the municipality said a security guard would be placed at the site during the construction period and thereafter a surveillance camera would be installed to 'secure' the art work.

Once completed, the municipality's libraries and heritage department would become the custodian of the sculptures.

Botha said it should be completed by the end of the year.

The Mercury


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