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This half-naked sculpture is drawing protests at an all-female college

Posted on Thursday, 6 February by

Half-naked sculpture Tony Matelli

More than 500 students have petitioned for the removal of a hyper-realistic sculpture that depicts a bald – and middle-aged – half-naked man sleepwalking…on the campus of an all-female college in Boston.

The artwork, aptly named ‘Sleepwalker’ and created by sculptor Tony Matelli, appeared outside Wellesley College – an all-female institution – earlier this week. The statue of a half-naked man in an unnerving pose has been enough to evoke uncomfortable reactions from the college community.

In a petition originally titled ‘Remove the uncomfortable and potentially triggering statue put up without student consent’, Zoe Magid says:

The sculpture of the nearly naked man on the Wellesley College campus is an inappropriate and potentially harmful addition to our community that we, as members of the student body, would like removed from outdoor space immediately, and placed inside the Davis Museum.

The highly lifelike sculpture has become a source of apprehension, fear, and triggering thoughts regarding sexual assault for some members of our campus community.”

Change.org petition

At the time of writing, 553 students have signed the pledge. Sadly for those mentally traumatised by a piece of art, the Davis Museum is reluctant to move the sculpture. Museum president Kim Bottomly and director Lisa Fischman said “the very best works of art have the power to stimulate deeply personal emotions and to provoke unexpected new ideas, and this sculpture is no exception.”

The Sleepwalker was up early enough to feature on Good Morning America.

Unsurprisingly, the inevitable spoof Twitter account for the Sleepwalker, @WCSleepwalker, shot into action late last night. The account shows that a few students treat the sculpture as a figure of fun with memes, vines and selfies taking centre stage.

How long until someone #neknominates the Wellesley ‘Sleepwalker’?

Photo taken by Dominick Reuters/Reuters.

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Corey Pellatt
22-year-old editor of SQ Magazine and Media Studies student at the University of Sussex. Freelance writer for clients including BHAFC.

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