At first, we thought maybe the artist was baiting the Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, but it turns out his new statue (that has a distinct Simpsons resemblance) has been misunderstood.
Renowned sculptor Dominic Benhura, whose work sells for hundreds of thousands of dollars to A-list collectors, has defended his six-month ‘cartoon’ creation against the inevitable mocking Twitter response.
And we’re chuffed to hear that the African dictator thinks that a new statue of himself is at the top of the priority list as Zimbabwe slips into its worst economic crisis yet.
Benhura appears to the right of the statue in the photo, looking particularly nervous about the debut:
'Superman in the style of The Simpsons': Mugabe unveils new statue of himself as Zimbabwe endures economic crisis https://t.co/0fWcLhFmWC
— Nick Lloyd (@nick_lloy) September 12, 2016
In response to the barrage of teasing tweets under #MugabeStatue, 48-year-old Benhura explained that the accurate but unflattering statue was not understood.
I think most people do not understand my art and they do not understand the difference in art styles.
That sculpture was never meant to look exactly as the President’s image. I do not do exact figures. Some artists do exact figures, but I do something that makes my work different.
If a number of artistes are commissioned to do a piece on a certain subject, there is need for a difference. If all the pieces have striking resemblance of the subject, they will look the same and nothing will differentiate the artists. This is the style I have mastered.
Luckily, Benhura will live to see another day as Mugabe was extremely pleased with his statue, calling it ‘a kind of wonder, a kind of love’, the Daily Mail reports.
Mugabe said to the state Herald newspaper:
To see oneself reproduced this way, it’s something that should be more appreciated than just by saying “thank you”.
I will say in an African way and in our own way, personally, thank you in a deeper way because it has gone deep in my heart.
Much like an expensive tin of shortbread that you appreciate but don’t want in your house, Mugabe has now decided to gift the statue to a charity.