“It’s with a heavy heart and despair I hear that within 48 hours someone has defaced Andrew Sinclair’s breathtaking David Bowie double-statue.”
These were the words of Steve Hogarth, lead singer of British rock band Marillion, who spoke to The Independent after hearing the news that the U.K.’s first Bowie statue had been vandalized shortly after its unveiling.
The statue was unveiled by Hogarth on Sunday afternoon in Aylesbury, England. Bowie, who passed away in January of 2016 at age 69, had a special connection with the town of Aylesbury, as it was the place where he debuted his Ziggy Stardust persona in the 1970s.
On Tuesday morning, Aylesbury locals woke up to graffitied messages reading “feed the homeless first” and “RIP DB,” spray-painted on the statue of their beloved musician.
Local music promoter David Stopp commissioned the statue, which was made possible through a crowdfunding campaign that, in collaboration with a number of grants, reached the more than £100,000 that paid for its construction.
While the message on the vandalized statue suggests the money should have gone to a more charitable cause, Deputy Mayor for the town of Aylesbury, Mark Willis, was quoted as saying, “I want to point out that this statue received precisely £0 of public money. That’s right, £0. It was entirely funded through crowdfunding, by members of the public, myself included.”
Stopp told Mix 96, “The paint was on the statue, the wall behind and on the pavement. It was about the homeless—but I do quite a lot for the homeless, which is the irony of the whole thing.” Stopp continued, “It’s ironic and ignorant because no public money was used on this statue. It was entirely David Bowie fans and people who wanted to see this happen.”
As of now, the perpetrator who vandalized the statue has not been caught. However, Stopp told the BBC, “There is a webcam on [the statue] 24/7 so whoever did it, we have got them on webcam.”
In fact, Mix 96 released a video on their official YouTube page of the surveillance camera that clearly captured the perpetrator, slowly spray-painting his message on the pavement before defacing the statue itself.
While the actions of this culprit are unfortunate, Stopps seems sure that the paint can be washed off, telling Mix 96:
We’re cleaning it up at the moment, but if anyone turns up with solvents and scrubbing brushes—please don’t, because it will damage the statue. The only thing we’re using is soft cloth, fairy liquid and hot water.
The man who created the bronze casting is coming up tomorrow to blow torch it off the statue, which is the only way, and then re-waxing it.
Tomorrow it should be back to it’s original condition.
It looks like Bowie fans will soon again be able to visit the musician’s statue in Aylesbury and enjoy it for years to come.
Listen to Paste Cloud audio from a Bowie performance circa 1987 below. Then revisit our tribute to the musical legend, written by Jonathan K. Dick, right here.