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Statue becomes focus of Norwegian debate

Nov. 12, 2006 at 5:04 PM

OSLO, Norway, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- A statue commissioned to honor King Olav V of Norway has become the center of a political controversy over the way it portrays the esteemed former leader.

The granite statue has been criticized by both Norwegian citizens and politicians for the way 83-year-old artist Knut Steen portrayed the much-liked king, and now the statue may never be publicly displayed, the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten reported Sunday.

While Steen made minor changes to the artwork that had a budget of more than $313,000, the artist could not alter its overall appearance and has declared the work completed.

Socialist Left politician Knut Even Lindsjorn said that it was unclear which way the final decision would ultimately go.

"It's not clear yet how this will be settled," Lindsjorn said to Aftenposten.

"I registered the strong reactions last year, and understood them," he said regarding the numerous complaints against the statue. "On the other hand, this is a piece of art, and there always are divided opinions on art."

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