CAIRO — Facebook users have been sharing photos of statues erected during 2015 in public squares throughout Egypt. These monuments, however, stirred a wave of anger and mockery among citizens for their artistic level and for not resembling the person they are meant to embody.
These feelings of anger and mockery were particularly evident among the local communities that live in areas surrounding these squares. The inhabitants of the city of Safaga in the Red Sea governorate were hit with a surprise during the unveiling of the Arousa Square monument on Nov. 28. According to some locals, the statue looks nothing like a mermaid as intended, but rather resembles a nightclub dancer. The same thing happened with the inhabitants of Aswan governorate who were horrified by a hideous statue of the great Egyptian writer Abbas El Akkad erected in the Akkad neighborhood of Aswan in early November. As part of a larger development plan for the neighborhood, a public official in the local administration unit restored an original statue initially made by the late Egyptian sculptor Farouk Ibrahim, but following restoration the statue no longer resembled the Egyptian literary giant. Samalout city in the governorate of Minya removed a statue of the pharaonic Queen Nefertiti in July 2015 after a campaign launched by social media activists criticizing the ugliness of this statue that looks nothing like the queen.