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Hirst Charity sculpture installed

Published 04/07/2015

Workers install the sculpture by Damien Hirst opposite the Gherkin in London's Square Mile
Workers install the sculpture by Damien Hirst opposite the Gherkin in London's Square Mile

A seven-metre high Damien Hirst sculpture which challenges society's perception of disability has been unveiled as part of a new exhibition in London.

The sculpture, called Charity, is based on a familiar collection box from the 1960s of a disabled young girl clutching a teddy bear and a collection tin.

It was installed next to the capital's Gherkin building as part of the 2015 Sculpture in the City exhibition, along with 13 other sculptures.

But Hirst's version depicts the charity box as worn and vandalised, with a crowbar laying next to the girl and her empty collection tin, in a bid to question society's historical tradition of representing charity as a pitiful image.

Scope withdrew the collection boxes in the 1980s in favour of promoting positive images of disabled people.

Now in its third public showing, the sculpture was originally installed in Hoxton Square in 2003.

Alan Gosschalk, fundraising director at Scope, says: "Charity is an iconic piece of art. It is also a symbol of changing attitudes to disability over the past 50 years, since collection boxes like the one depicted in this sculpture were seen on high streets across the country.

"This artwork highlights an outdated vision of charity and disability. However, while attitudes to disabled people have improved in this time, many people still feel awkward about disability.

"We hope that this sculpture will encourage conversations about disability amongst people in our capital."

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