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18.11.2020

The Little Mermaid (statue), Copenhagen

The Little Mermaid is a bronze statue of Edward Eriksen, depicting a mermaid becoming a human being. The sculpture is exhibited on a rock at the waterfront of the Langelini embankment in Copenhagen, Denmark. Its height is 1.25 meters (4.1 lbs) and weight - 175 kg (385 lbs).

Based on the 1837 tale of the same name Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, a small and unsightly statue of the icon of Copenhagen and has been a major attraction since its opening in 1913 In recent decades, it has become a popular target for spoilage by vandals and political activists.

The mermaid is one of the iconic statues symbolizing the city; others include: Writer in Brussels, Statue of Liberty in New York and Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro. On several occasions, cities have ordered statues for this purpose, such as Singapore's Merlion.

The statue was commissioned in 1909 by Carl Jacobsen, son of the founder of Carlsberg, who was fascinated by the ballet about a fairy tale at the Royal Theatre of Copenhagen and asked ballerina Ellen Price to make a model for the statue. Sculptor Edward Eriksen created the bronze statue, which was opened on August 23, 1913. The head of the statue was modeled in the image of Price, but since the ballerina did not agree to model nude, the sculptor's wife, Elin Eriksen, was used for the body.

The Copenhagen City Council decided to move the statue to Shanghai in the Danish pavilion during Expo 2010 (May to October), the first time since it was installed almost a century ago. While the statue was in Shanghai, an authorized copy was displayed on a stone lake in the neighboring Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen. Copenhagen authorities are considering moving the statue a few meters towards the harbor to prevent vandalism and to prevent tourists from climbing, but as of May 2014, the statue remains on land by the water at Langelini.

Since the mid 1960s, for various reasons, the statue has been damaged and disfigured many times, but each time it was restored.

On April 24, 1964, the statue's head was sawn off and stolen by politically oriented artists of the Situationist movement, among them Jorgen Nash. The head was never restored, and a new head was made, which was placed on the statue. On July 22, 1984, the right hand was sawn off and returned two days later by two young men. In 1990, when trying to cut the head of the statue, there was a cut 18 centimeters (7 inches) deep around the neck.

On January 6, 1998, the statue was beheaded again; the perpetrators were never found, but the head was anonymously returned to the nearest television station and attached again on February 4. On the night of September 10, 2003, the statue was shot down with explosives, and then later. found in the waters of the harbor. Holes were made in the wrist and knee of the mermaid.

The paint on the statue was watered several times, including one episode in 1963 and two in March and May 2007. On March 8, 2006, a dildo was attached to the statue's hand and green paint was spilled on it. It was painted on March 8 . It is supposed that this vandalism was connected with the International Women's Day, which is celebrated on March 8. The statue was found covered with red paint on May 30, 2017 with the inscription "Danmark defnd whales of the Faroe Islands", a reference to the Faroe Islands whaling, written on the ground in front of the statue. Approximately two weeks later, on June 14, the statue was flooded with white and blue paint. "Beffrey Abdullah" was written in front of the statue, but at the time it was not clear what it meant . Later, police said the letter probably concerned Abdullah Ahmed, a Somali refugee who has been held in a high-security wing in Denmark since 2001 because of a prison sentence. On January 13, 2020, "Free Hong Kong" was painted on the stone on which the statue was placed by supporters of protests in Hong Kong in 2019-20. On June 3, 2020, after George Floyd protests and the black Lives Matter movement, the statue was vandalized with the words "racist fish" scratched on its stone foundation, which left the observer and experts puzzled as nothing associated with it, HC Andersen or his fairy tale can be interpreted as racist.

Although this is not considered vandalism, as the statue is undamaged, people have also repeatedly dressed it, either for entertainment or for more serious statements. In 2004, the statue was wrapped in a burqa to protest against Turkey's application to join the European Union. In May 2007, it was found again in Muslim clothing and a headscarf. Other examples include cases where a Christmas hat was worn on the head or in the shirts of Norwegian or Swedish national soccer teams.

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