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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 August 2005, 03:08 GMT 04:08 UK
'Hoodie' statue provokes outrage
Youth wearing hooded top
Opposition to hooded tops has created controversy
A bronze statue of a teenager wearing a hooded top, to be erected in Angus, has been criticised for glorifying hooligan culture.

Art student Des Smith was chosen for the commission, which he said would depict modern youth culture in the style of ancient monumental sculpture.

The artist said he hoped to provoke discussion on "the problem of youth".

But people have hit out at Angus Council for spending 1,500 on the two-foot sculpture, called "Nike".

The artwork is the winning entry of a competition established as a partnership between the council and Dundee University's Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design.

Amateur historian Peter White said it was a ludicrous decision for an area that had a "welter" of ancient history spanning the centuries.

Even a statue of a Forfar bridie would be a better idea as an icon of the area
Peter White
Amateur historian

"All they can come up with for a civic art collection is a statue of a hoodie", he said.

"Even a statue of a Forfar bridie (meat pasty) would be a better idea as an icon of the area. I have no idea what they think this will achieve."

Kirriemuir resident Alec Mackay added: "It seems as if they want to glorify the 'ned' culture which exists these days.

"I have teenage sons and I know for a fact that not all youngsters are hooligans and thugs. But this is like saying to them it's OK to be a ned because now you will be officially recognised in art by the council.

"All they are doing is make themselves a laughing stock. Do they want Angus to be known as chav central or something?"

The decision to make the Angus Art Commission prize a controversial depiction of modern youth culture has been defended by the council.

Environmental and Leisure Services convener Joy Mowatt said it was a contemporary idea and would inspire debate on the state of modern youth.

This selection was made at a time when there was a lot of bad publicity about young people in hooded tops
Joy Mowatt
Angus Council

"This selection was made at a time when there was a lot of bad publicity about young people in hooded tops," she said.

"I know a lot of children who wear these and I have to say that in my own experience there is not a malicious bone in their bodies."

She said she believed the work, which has been shown in outline form to councillors, showed echoes of the work of the renowned local sculptor William Lamb.

"When I saw this piece I thought it was excellent and in a way I felt it was bringing the work of our great Angus sculptor William Lamb into the 21st century. I really look forward to seeing this piece."

The sculptor said he believed the piece mimicked the ancient monumental sculpture style but brought it up-to-date and into the 21st century.

Greek mythology

"The work depicts a young woman - although the work looks androgynous - in a hooded top and baggy trousers standing in a languid pose, hands in pockets and feet apart," Mr Smith said.

"The title relates to both modern sportswear and to sculptures from antiquity. Monumental figurative work has often used Greek art and mythology for its inspiration and likewise I have tried to create Nike for a contemporary audience.

"The central idea of the work is to provoke discussion regarding the issues surrounding 'the problem of youth' and an often demonised and scapegoated section of modern society."

A decision on where it will be displayed has not yet been taken.

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