‘Disgust’ after vandals again target Langley horse sculpture in Brookswood

For the second time in nearly a year, a life-sized fibreglass horse sculpture has been significantly vandalized.

The sculpture “Tattoo”, designed by artist Marilyn Dyer, was supposed to be back on permanent display at the Brookswood water park at 200th Street and 40th Avenue.

Instead, the $10,000 piece of art has been put away for safekeeping by the Township of Langley, after one or more vandals smashed some of its legs and hooves either Friday night or early Saturday morning.

The painted horse’s return to the park was very short-lived.

“The two words are disgusting and disappointed,” said an emotional Diane Gendron, president of the Langley Arts Council.

In July 2013, vandals sliced the horse’s head and hooves off and left it lying on the ground.

The Brookswood Merchants Association has kept the sculpture since last July before it was returned to the park a second time. The sculpture was glued back together, to be displayed publicly again.

“The idea of putting it [back on display] with its wounds still showing was that, it becomes socially engaged art,” Gendron said. “It was still beautiful, and still you could see all of Marilyn’s designs. The wounds that were left on it, were where the cuts had been.”

Dyer, who originally spent 300 hours creating the sculpture, believes the initial incident was premeditated.

“They had to be pretty strong,” she said. “They used a chainsaw. You’d have to lift the chainsaw, you’d have to cut through, and it was clean cut.”

On Saturday, it was found leaning on its side, marked by a graffiti tag.

Dyer said the sculpture’s intention was to enhance a children’s park.

“I’m very saddened for the community, and the children,” she said. “The administration who puts that effort out to do that [place the horse in the park] for the community, and when they get it right, and then someone who doesn’t want to be creative and thoughtful comes and just wipes out a dream.”

Author Ruthie Charles has written a book centred around the horse’s story, with a theme on bullying and its effects. As part of Saturday’s Brookswood Village Summerfest, buttons were sold for $2 each to raise money to have the book printed.

Gendron said the horse was fully intact at about 3:30 p.m. Friday.

“The hope was the people who were involved the last time perhaps had grown up, perhaps had left the neighbourhood, perhaps had matured a little bit,” Gendron said.

“A Note From Tattoo” that was to be part of a display at Summerfest read, in part, “It was not the original intent of the Langley Arts Council, who first brought me to Langley, to have a wounded horse on display in Brookswood, but I do reflect the ‘risk’ surrounding public art. In my present state, I am here as a symbol of the resiliency of a creative and inclusive community. I am no longer ‘perfect’ but I do demonstrate the will to love what is flawed, and I hope people will accept me with my imperfections, and protect and care for me today and always.”

Moving forward, the sculpture will once again be restored and placed somewhere more visible, where it will be more difficult to vandalize because it will be in plain sight.

Anyone with information can call the Langley RCMP at 604-532-3200. To remain anonymous, call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

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