Artists begin repair job

Artists yesterday returned to the Yarmouth beach to repair the sand sculptures vandalised last week.

Artists yesterday returned to the Yarmouth beach to repair the sand sculptures vandalised last week.

Since last Sunday three of the designs based on ancient Greek sculptures - said to be worth £1m - have stood headless after youths broke in to the central beach compound and wreaked havoc.

After originally deciding to leave the statues as they were as a symbolic sign of the damage caused by the vandals, Holland-based festival director Thomas van den Dungen reconsidered and sent in the emergency team.

Yesterday 25-year-old Bouke Atema returned to the site where he had spent three weeks sculpting in early June, joined by 27-year-old Alan Magee.

The two were flown over from a exhibition in Germany and will stay for up to a week, working on the Oedipus Complex, Hermaphrodites and Narcissism.

Yesterday Mr Magee, from Ireland, said: “You can't just make it the same as it was before. We've been studying videos of the sculptures and are trying to follow the styles of the artists before but will have to change some things and add our own touches.

Most Read

“Also we don't have the luxury of being able to import Dutch river sand again, so the consistency is going to be difficult.”

Sites manager Evelyn Peters said that many of the 10,000 visitors a week were approaching her and her staff to express sympathy and anger at the work of the vandals.

She said: “It was my worst nightmare scenario, someone breaking in and destroying the sculptures when I had gone home.

“We've all grown so attached to these sculptures, it's like someone breaking into your home and defacing your property.

“Luckily the damage was not too severe and in three or four days everything will be back to how it was.

“People have been very supportive, we hope for their sake nothing like this ever happens again.”

Repairs are expected to cost several thousands of pounds, partly air fare and hotel fees for the two sculptors. If any more are needed they will be sent over in the next few days from Israel and the US.

Mr Atema, a fine art student from Holland who has been creating sand sculptures each summer for the last three years said: “If nothing else, this highlights the fragility of the material. People keep thinking it's concrete but now they can see it really is just sand.

“Fortunately none of these statues were ones I had been working on before. If they had been I would have been extremely upset. We put our heart and soul into these, to see them destroyed is terrible.”

The sand sculpture remains open every day until September 10.