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65ft Verity sculpture reveals naked truth

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 09, 2012

The controversial statue Verity, by outspoken artist Damien Hirst, is assembled prior to being sited at the entrance to Ilfracombe harbour

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A Devon town yesterday got its first glimpse of the controversial statue of a pregnant woman wielding a sword which will tower over its harbour.

The 65ft statue – called Verity – has been presented to Ilfracombe, in North Devon, by leading artist Damien Hirst on a 20-year loan.

The bronze-clad "modern allegory of truth and justice", part of whose naked belly is exposed to graphically reveal the foetus inside, arrived at its new home yesterday.

She is expected to be assembled and hoisted into place, at the entrance to Ilfracombe harbour, between October 14-17, although the final installation will depend on the weather.

The statue, which also bears the scales of justice and will stand upon a plinth of law books, was granted planning permission by North Devon Council last month.

Unsurprisingly, the offer by Hirst – whose past works have included animals preserved in formaldehyde – divided opinion in Ilfracombe.

Supporters said it would be a "progressive catalyst for change which will enhance the growth and status of the town" and be a "boost to the area".

Opponents, however, branded the statue outrageous, immoral, bizarre, obscene, offensive, disgusting, distasteful, embarrassing, grotesque, disrespectful, insensitive, inappropriate, a monstrosity, tasteless, ugly, vulgar and not in good taste.

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