Cypriot giant Noble Peasant in the works, KNEWS
A controversial giant statue proposed to be built in the northern foothills of the Kyrenia mountain range made headlines on Friday, with a local newspaper saying The Noble Peasant was in the works.
According to the Greek Cypriot daily Politis, a “grandiose project is underway” to build a giant sculpture of a noble peasant with one knee on the ground and looking out to sea.
In June, Turkish Cypriot entrepreneur Erbil Arkin invited the public to comment on his plan, which had not been finalized at the end of the summer, to fund the 40-meter sculpture, which he described as “a gift to the Cypriot people”.
“We are asking our people for ideas, if the majority wants it, this project will come true,” said Arkin.
The nomination by Dutch sculptor Lotta Blokker, who was among 80 nominations from some 30 countries, was selected by a committee for the Arkin Prize, while reports indicated that the project would be managed by ARUCAD, the University of creative arts and design from Arkin, in collaboration with and international experts in the field.
But environmental activists have spoken out against the project, saying the construction would harm the region’s forest.
Local protesters demonstrated against the proposal in Kyrenia, claiming the construction “would pierce nature like a dagger” while its “protruding gigantic dimensions” would be widely seen as “a symbol of power, ego and money” .
The group that publicly protested this summer also argued that Arkin’s project appeared to be “an effort to immortalize a wealthy person instead of the company’s own values.”
But Arkin says it’s up to people to decide if they like him.
âIf our people say we don’t want it, if our government says we don’t want it, then we don’t want it. But I believe we are doing the right thing for our country and our people. If this happens, the Noble Peasant will be part of our culture. Every culture is remembered for the works of art it leaves behind, âhe said.
Critics also took issue with the peasant’s posture, saying he was on his knees with religious overtones and unclear motives.
But according to Arkin, the noble peasant is not on his knees but has one knee on the ground.
âThe Noble Peasant is a descendant of ours, someone who worked the land. If the peasant worships anything, it is the land on his land. The more you get used to this pose, the more you will like it. It is a calm posture in silence. Personally, I like it a lot and hope everyone likes it, âsaid Arkin.
While experts say kneeling down is a sign of respect, Arkin went on to say that the main reason for the posture was to make the statue “more memorable” for visitors.
âIf I asked you from which country and from which these statues of more than 100 meters came from, you would not remember. I wanted a posture like this for the Noble Peasant, “he said, adding” let her be noble and calm “.
A video in September gave a more complete picture of the proposed project, which would introduce locally sourced saplings to allow the park around it to grow and develop organically over time, along with young pine trees and maquis currently in the forest.
The Noble Peasant, a traditional-looking Cypriot man, will be atop a nature museum where visitors can learn about the wonders and mysteries of nature, according to the Noble Peasant website.
Arkin also said that the sculpture would put Cyprus on the map, “not only the north but also the south”.