Culture, antiquities ministries to approve new statues in public squares

Wednesday 07-09-2016 04:35 PM

A renovation of a statue of Egyptian singer Mohamed Abdel Wahab. (Source: Ahram Gate)

CAIRO, Sept. 7 (Aswat Masriya) - Decisions to erect or renovate statues in public squares around Egypt must be approved by the Ministries of Culture and Antiquities beforehand, according to a decision by Prime Minister Sherif Ismail.

The decision, issued Wednesday, also applies to public murals and sculptures, according to the Cabinet's statement.

Ismail's statement came days after a statue in Sohag dubbed "Mother of the Martyr," came under criticism for allegedly depicting sexual harassment. The controversy was reported by local and international media alike. 

The Associated Press reported that Sohag's governor ordered changes to the sculpture. 

The statue depicted a woman, meant to symbolize Egypt, with her arms outstretched, with a soldier standing behind her with his arms wrapped around her. Residents of Sohag complained that the statue was inappropriate.

The 60-year-old sculptor Wagih Yani now has to modify the statue and remove the soldier. Yani told the Associated Press, "I remain convinced of the sculpture's original idea and the modifications will not steer far from that."

In July, a statue depicting Nefertiti in Samalut, a town in Southern Cairo, was also ridiculed on social media, with users comparing the less than flattering statue of the Pharaonic Queen to Frankenstein.  

Other renovations of statues, primarily one of Om Kulthum in Zamalek, were criticized by users who deemed the renovations a form of vandalism. 

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