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Senegal architect in bid to end statue nudity row

African Renaissance statue
The giant $27m statue has not proved popular with the capital's residents

The architect of a huge statue being built in Senegal has suggested he cover the legs of the bare-breasted female figure to overcome a row over nudity.

The BBC's Tidiane Sy in Senegal says it is the latest controversy to hit the $27m (£17m) monument, which will be bigger than the Statue of Liberty.

It has upset religious leaders in the mainly Muslim nation, with imams saying it was idolatrous and a waste of money.

Other groups say it is sexist as the man appears to be dragging the woman.

The 49-m (160-ft) bronze statue, the brainchild of President Abdoulaye Wade, depicts three scantily clad figures - a man holding a scantily clad woman behind him and a child aloft, pointing out to sea.

'Too much leg'

Architect Pierre Goudiaby Atepa told journalists in the capital, Dakar, that he had received complaints about the woman's "naked legs".

He said that he has now proposed to Mr Wade that the legs be covered with a concrete cloth.

Our correspondent says some have already expressed concern about financial costs of changing the design.

The statue, due to be completed later this year, has been a sore point since its conception, he says.

Some have been angered by Mr Wade's proposal that he will personally take 35% of the revenue it generates, as it was his idea.

He had to apologise to Senegal's Christian minority last week after comparing the "Africa Renaissance" statue to Jesus Christ.

He had sought to deflect the imams' criticism of the statue on religious grounds by comparing it to the statues of Jesus found in churches.

The president hopes the statue will attract more tourists to the country but many Senegalese feel the money could be better spent.



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SEE ALSO
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Country profile: Senegal
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