A statue of 13th century Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan unveiled in central London in April has sparked heated discussion among residents of the British capital, the London Evening Standard daily said.
Westminster council selected the statue as part of its ongoing City of Sculpture festival, which aims to install works of art across the borough in the run-up to the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The sculpture of the armor-clad warlord on his horse will stand next to Cumberland Gate in Marble Arch until early September.
The decision to select the work by artist Dashi Namdakov is “inappropriate and bizarre,” Labor Group leader Paul Dimoldenberg said. "What on earth were Westminster’s Conservative councillors thinking when they agreed to a statue of him at Marble Arch? Who’s next? Stalin? Pol Pot? Saddam Hussein?” the paper quoted him as saying.
Westminster’s deputy leader Robert Davis dismissed the criticism, saying: “Our City of Sculpture festival seeks to inspire, challenge and educate. “Art is most successful when it provokes a reaction or begins a conversation. The Genghis Khan equestrian statue is a fine sculpture.”
Namdakov insists the piece was not designed to celebrate Khan's legendary warlike tendencies, the Metro.UK daily said. “If I wanted to show him as a warrior I would have shown him as a warrior, but he is a thinker in this case. He is a divine figure in my country,' said Namdakov, who was born in a part of Siberia that was once controlled by nomadic Mongol tribes.
The founder of the Mongol empire is regarded as a hero in many countries.