BEMIDJI, Minn., July 4 (UPI) -- A scene painted on a beaver statue struck some observers as female genitalia, prompting its removal from a public art walk in Bemidji, Minn., an organizer said.
Deborah Davis of Blackduck says her piece of art, one of nine fiberglass beaver sculptures painted by area artists, was meant to portray a praying woman's hands, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Sunday.
But about 20 people who sized it up as they took in downtown Bemidji's Sculpture Walk called city officials to say they saw something entirely different when they looked at the beaver's belly. And so the offending statue disappeared from the public space Thursday by order of City Manager John Chattin.
Al Belleveau, president of the Bemidji Sculpture Walk, said he transported the sculpture to his yard until the City Council rules on its future Tuesday.
But removing the beaver stirred emotions in others who are upset the sculpture was removed. Davis told the Tribune Sunday a group of people had gathered at the spot where her statue had stood carrying signs that read "Censored" and some of the other beaver artists covered up their own works in solidarity with her.
"My intent was to paint Mother Nature, Mother Earth," said Davis, a former kindergarten teacher. "I didn't understand that some people saw genitalia. ... I understand people see different things in art, and they need to be free to do that. ... My intent was to paint a praying woman."