Home News Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid sculpture vandalized, labelled “racist fish”

Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid sculpture vandalized, labelled “racist fish”

by Paul Goldberg

Now even the Little Mermaid is not safe from vandals.

Per Reuters, Denmark woke up on Friday to the words “racist fish” scrawled across the base of the “Little Mermaid”, the bronze statue honoring Hans Christian Andersen’s famous fairy tale that perches on a rock in the sea off a pier in Copenhagen.

Police said it had not yet identified the perpetrators.

The 107-year-old sculpture, which is visited by one million tourists each year, has been vandalized before, including by anti-whaling campaigners and pro-democracy activists, twice suffering decapitation.

“We consider it vandalism and have started an investigation,” a spokesman for the Copenhagen police said.

Protesters of the Black Lives Matter movement around the world have in recent months rallied against statues of historical figures who played a role in racist oppression, such as slave traders and colonialists.

The Little Mermaid has not been part of this debate but last year a Disney live-action remake of the 1989 animated film of the same name was the subject of a controversy after African American actress Halle Bailey was cast in the central role.

“I am having a hard time seeing what is particularly racist in the fairy tale “The Little Mermaid,” Ane Grum-Schwensen, a researcher at the H.C. Andersen Center at the University of Southern Denmark, told local news wire Ritzau.

Per Wikipedia, the Little Mermaid (Danish: Den lille Havfrue) is a bronze statue by Edvard Eriksen, depicting a mermaid becoming human.

The sculpture is displayed on a rock by the waterside at the Langelinie promenade in Copenhagen, Denmark.[a] It is 1.25 metres (4.1 ft) tall[2] and weighs 175 kilograms (385 lb).[3]

Based on the 1837 fairy tale of the same name by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, the small and unimposing statue is a Copenhagen icon and has been a major tourist attraction since its unveiling in 1913.

In recent decades it has become a popular target for defacement by vandals and political activists.

Mermaid is among iconic statues that symbolize cities; others include: Manneken Pis in Brussels,[4] the Statue of Liberty in New York and Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro.

In several cases, cities have commissioned statues for such a purpose, such as with Singapore’s Merlion.

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