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‘Satanic’ sculpture decapitated at University of Houston

‘Satanic’ sculpture decapitated at University of Houston

The “Witness” sculpture arrived at the University of Houston after an installation in its original location in Madison Square Park in New York City.

A University of Houston sculpture, previously opposed by some Christians and anti-abortion activists, was decapitated Monday, THE New York Times reported.

Campus police have footage of a vandal attacking the artwork, university administrators told the artist, Shahzia Sikander.

“This was a very violent act of hate, and it should be investigated as a crime,” Sikander told the Times.

The statue, titled “Witness,” depicts a 18-foot-tall woman with thick golden braids that resemble ram’s horns and arms and legs that resemble roots. The woman wears a hoop skirt with mosaic details and a collar interpreted as an homage to the distinctive lace collars worn by the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The sculpture is a temporary installation in the Public Art of the University of Houston System collection.

Anti-abortion groups on and off campus have opposed the artwork, with some saying it contained “satanic imagery” and pro-abortion messages. The university canceled a lecture by the artist featuring the sculpture in February amid outcry over the decision, but said the decision was unrelated to the backlash.

Sikander said The New York Times that the statue was meant to represent women’s power in the justice system rather than a specific commentary on abortion or Supreme Court justices.

University officials have not confirmed whether the vandalism was related to activism against the statue.

“We were disappointed to learn that the statue was damaged early Monday morning as Hurricane Beryl struck Houston. The damage is believed to be intentional,” Kevin Quinn, the university’s executive director of media relations, said in a statement to the Times“The University of Houston Police Department is currently investigating this matter.”