Should this busty seagull statue remain in New Bedford?
Not everyone in New Bedford is loving the statue of a giant seagull installed along the waterfront. An online petition seeking to have the piece removed cites the sculpture’s female figure.
Called “Seagull Cinderella,” the sculpture was created by Boston artist Donna Dodson and is among 20 or so works of art that have been installed in recent months as part of the New Bedford Seaport Artwalk.
But resident Ray Concannon isn’t a fan and he’s initiated a petition to have it removed. Concannon’s petition is headlined “Remove the Seagull with Boobs Statue in Downtown New Bedford.”
“This is art, it’s just bad art,” he says, calling the 9-foot-tall sculpture an “eyesore.” Concannon insists he isn’t bothered by the female form, adding “The David and Venus de Milo and other nude art can be very beautiful.” But he questions why New Bedford, whose famous denizens have included Frederick Douglass and Herman Melville, would want to celebrate that history “with a seagull with large human breasts.”
Dodson says using a female form, with pink paint and a daisy-print pattern, was a way to explore certain stereotypical images. The artist isn’t put off by the controversy, saying it comes with the territory.
“When art is out in public, it becomes a symbol for something more than what it is,” Dodson says. “Public art generates these conversations about cultural values that private art doesn’t provoke. I welcome the controversy.”
So does the Internet community. People on the #peopleofnewbedford Facebook page are both decrying and defending “Seagull Cinderella.” (Of course, there’s also the obligatory “Who cares?” camp.)
Resident Garrett Rosa has launched a competing petition — “Stop the petition demanding the removal of the seagull statue with boobs” — claiming Concannon is “clearly uncomfortable by the female form and hates the art.” As of Thursday afternoon, the vote was 326 to remove and 95 to stop the petition to remove.