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Olu Oguibe, Monument to Strangers and Refugees, 2017. Photo: DPA.

Vandals Deface Olu Oguibe’s Documenta Monument

A sculpture by artist Olu Oguibe, an obelisk dedicated to refugees currently installed on Kassel’s Königsplatz, was vandalized on Tuesday, January 23,  according to Monopol. Titled Monument to Strangers and Refugees, 2017, the piece, which was featured in last year’s Documenta, was defaced the same day that the city began a fundraising campaign to purchase it.

The authorities reported that the perpetrator, who was arrested at the scene, was drunk and had a blood-alcohol level of 1.3 percent. The fifty-five-year-old man, whose name was not disclosed, confessed to the crime and said it was politically motived. He disagrees with the purchase price that the city will have to pay to acquire the work. The cost to fix the damage to the piece has yet to be determined.

Oguibe is seeking $750,000 for the concrete work, and has already received multiple offers from other cities in the region. The fifty-three-foot-tall obelisk is inscribed with four translations of the phrase, “I was a stranger and you took me in” (Matthew 25:35).

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