An enormous squirrel sculpture recently put on display in a Kazakhstan city is generating controversy both for its bizarre nature and its rather sizeable price tag. Located in the city of Almaty, the piece stands a whopping 40 feet high and is constructed out of straw and wood. In a testament to the old adage that 'everyone's a critic,' the reception for the squirrel sculpture has been largely one of derision with some saying the creature looks more like a rat and others have decried the creation as a massive fire hazard.
Where most residents take issue with the faux rodent is in its cost: around $67,000 dollars. This is because the sculpture is part of a nationwide celebration in Kazakhstan and, as such, the artwork was partially funded by the city government to the tune of $44,000 dollars. As one might expect, this expenditure did not sit well with those living in Almaty, who argue that there were better things to spend the money on besides a giant sculpture of a squirrel such as, really, anything. But, more specifically, they've suggested that the money could have helped families in need or those who require help paying for medical bills.
For his part, one of the artists behind the sculpture offered the kind of musing one might expect from a person who has just created a $67,000 dollar squirrel statue. "Squirrels are our urban neighbors," artist Alex Rinsler told the BBC, "like us, they adapted to life in the city, and, like us, they need the resources to survive and thrive." To that end, residents have already expressed fears that the rodent will actually wind up being an even bigger financial burden. They worry that it will inevitably be destroyed at some point during the nine months it is scheduled to be on display, necessitating what will likely be a costly clean up effort.