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Sunday 25 August 2019

Paint attack on new Luke statue 'not personal', insists artist Vera

Workman Peter Wojciech removes spray paint from the statue after vandals struck. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin
Workman Peter Wojciech removes spray paint from the statue after vandals struck. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

The creator of the Luke Kelly statue in Dublin's north inner city has said she does not take personally an attack by vandals on her work.

Workmen spent yesterday morning cleaning the recently installed statue at Sheriff Street and Guild Street after black paint was sprayed over the eyes.

P Mac, a specialist stone cleaning and restoration company, was hired by Dublin City Council and successfully removed the paint.

Graffiti

Artist Vera Klute said she believed the individual respon- sible had not set out to attack her as an artist.

"I was a bit disappointed when the council informed me that it was vandalised, but at the same time I'm not taking it personally," she said.

"There's graffiti everywhere, and sculptures are no exception.

"It was probably just one individual set out to spray paint the statue without any real thought behind it."

Ms Klute, who watched the clean-up yesterday, said she was "deeply moved" by the support shown by local residents.

"I think people in Sheriff Street and Guild Street are extremely proud of the statue and look after it so well," she said.

"I'm really touched by their reaction because they were genuinely disappointed and saddened that it was damaged.

"There was great support shown to me, and I'm convinced that it was just a one-off incident."

Gardai are looking into the circumstances surrounding the vandalism and are examining CCTV images.

"Gardai are investigating an incident of criminal damage to a statue on Guild Street, Dublin 1, that occurred between 6pm and 8.15pm on June 25, 2019," a spokesperson said.

Tracy Cassidy, the marketing manager of P Mac, said a mild solvent was used to remove the spray paint.

The structure is made of Italian marble and the black marks could not be sanded off without damaging the eyes.

Neighbours praised the quick clean-up, but were angry about the vandalism.

"I was shocked. I think its a disgrace," said Mary Dunne.

"Luke Kelly was from the area and, you know, it was to honour him that it was put there.

"There are good people who live here who wouldn't do something like this."

Ms Dunne said many people in the area were saddened by what had happened.

"I couldn't believe it when I saw it," she said, "but it's great that less than 24 hours later it has been cleaned up."

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