Giant Pinocchio unveiled in Borås

Giant Pinocchio unveiled in Borås
The controversial bronze statue of Pinocchio was unveiled on a roundabout in central Borås on Friday afternoon. Its creator, US pop artist Jim Dine, was visibly moved by the occasion.

The nine metre tall bronze Pinocchio completed its journey from Seattle, half way round the world to the western Swedish countryside town of Borås on Friday.

The 9 million kronor ($1.5 million) statue was welcomed by a large crowd in the Borås sunshine as the debate over the controversial work of art gave way to cheers.

County governor Lars Bäckström introduced the Pinocchio in a short ceremony and gave the instruction to 100 members of a local children’s choir to pull a rope and reveal the statue.

Jim Dine was in Borås to watch his work take its place.

“It has been a long journey for me. For the boy. It looked good in Walla Walla but looks even better here. He is in my heart and always will be,” the 72-year-old artist said to the assembled Borås residents.

The statue was commissioned by town officials several years ago. According to local politicians, Dine has a special interest in the Pinocchio story and in the Swedish town.

The prospect of having a gigantic Pinocchio serving as a gateway to their city continues to divide Borås residents however and not everybody was cheering on Friday afternoon. In a vote taken last year to approve the statue, 40 councillors voted for the statue, while 28 voted against it.

The statue is dedicated to Gustaf Tenggren, a Swedish illustrator that worked on the Disney film of the classic chidlren’s story of Pinocchio. Tenggren came from nearby Alingsås.