Maldives smashes ‘offensive’ Coralarium statues

A gallery featuring semi-submerged sculptures – ruled anti-Islam under outgoing president Abdulla Yameen – was torn down in dramatic fashion last Friday.

Images circulating on social media and news outlets show police demolishing the sculptures using saws, axes and ropes on the eve of the presidential election, which Yameen lost to a liberal candidate.

The gallery opened at the Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi in July, featuring a series of statues named the Coralarium.

The artwork designed by British artist Jason deCaires Taylor were touted to marry art and marine conservation, but Yameen ruled them offensive to Islam and ordered for their destruction.

Travel industry players TTG Asia spoke with in July had suggested that this was a political play rather than a reflection of public and religious sentiment.

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