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- Created: 27 August 2015 27 August 2015
Symbol of LGBTI rights was torched seven times in three years
Warsaw’s iconic rainbow art installation – a symbol of LGBTI tolerance – has been taken down.
Several hundred people watched Wednesday (August 26) night as the plastic flowers were plucked and the metal support structure dismantled.
The 9m Tolerance Rainbow started in 2012 as a celebration of Poland’s EU presidency in Brussels. It was moved to Savior Square in 2012, where it became a symbol of tolerance – and one of controversy.
Politician Stanisław Pięta complained that the ‘hideous rainbow had hurt the feelings of believers’ – it is located next to a Catholic church – and Priest Tadeusz Rydzyk described it as a ‘symbol of deviancy.’
It was torched seven times in the three years it was in the square, most recently in December.
‘No other art piece in the country has triggered such a nationwide debate, nor polarized society to such extent in decades,’ Radio Poland noted.
‘I think the Rainbow was a mirror [for our society],’ artist Julita Wojcik told the station.
‘That’s why I actually started to be a voice for the LGBT community. These groups told me the Rainbow did more than they tried to do for years in Poland.’
City authorities, previously supportive, did not extend the rainbow’s contract, which was due to end in December.
Ownership of the controversial work of art has now been assumed by the Centre for Contemporary Art.