Sculptors boycott statue competition

  • 2006-10-18
  • By Joel Alas
TALLINN - A group of artists have spoken out against plans to build a giant statue of the folk hero Kalevipoeg in the Bay of Tallinn. The City of Tallinn recently announced an international competition to find a suitable design for the proposed statue, which would stand 21 meters high and sit 100 meters from the shore.

While the city council has trumpeted the concept as a potential tourist drawcard and international icon, one group of artists has called on its members to boycott the design competition.
The Estonian Sculptor's Union said it did not believe the city would be able to select an appropriate design.
"The union does not agree with the conditions of the competition. In our opinion, there are not enough independent professionals and too many officials of the city in the commission to get a competent outcome," ESU chairwoman Mari-Liis Tammi said.

"We also question the suitability of the selected place for this statue."
Among ESU's members is Tauno Kangro, the sculptor who dreamed up the concept of a giant Kalevipoeg statue. Kangro is the man widely tipped to win the competition, which some believe is being held purely for the purpose of appearing open to other concepts.

Tammi said Kangro was just one member of the organization, and other members held different views.
Estonian arts professionals are fond of boycotting official design competitions.
Last month, the Union of Estonian Architects said it would boycott a competition to design Tallinn's new City Hall.
The union said it would not appoint representatives to the competition jury panel and called on its members not to take part because the union disagreed with the chosen site and the selection process.

However, the City Council will press ahead with both design competitions without the participation of the artists' associations.