SAO PAULO – (AP) Many Brazilians have felt bearish about the new Wall Street-inspired bull sculpture outside the stock exchange and didn’t have to wait long for it to collapse: the statue was removed a week after its installation.
The Sao Paulo Stock Exchange had hoped to endow the dilapidated city center with a flashy landmark. But its golden glow was offset by nearby tents for the homeless and the daily line outside a large union of job seekers – any job.
Tuesday evening, there were no more.
Critics have said the metal and fiberglass sculpture at the stock exchange gates in no way reflects Brazil’s current economic crossroads or near-term prospects, with high poverty and unemployment and double-digit inflation. . Local media have shown poor Brazilians in several cities so desperate for food that they dig through discarded meat scraps.
It represents the strength and resilience of the Brazilian people, said Gilson Finkelsztain, CEO of the exchange, during its unveiling on November 16. It was sponsored by the stock exchange and investor Paulo Spyer.
Spyer, who owns a consultancy company called Vai Tourinho (“Go Little Bull” in Portuguese), said he was honored to give a gift to all Brazilians. Some residents were keen to take photos with the sculpture, which looks like the Charging Bull in Manhattan’s financial district.
But the celebration quickly met with protests. The next day, a dozen students put HUNGER stickers on the bulls’ bodies. After their abolition, the association SP Invisible, which helps the most disadvantaged, organized a barbecue next to the bull to feed the homeless. The two protests have resonated widely on social networks.
This bull suggests that we are making progress, but it is exactly the opposite, Vincius Lima, one of the organizers of nonprofits, told reporters. Beef prices have skyrocketed. It costs double what it used to cost. Fewer and fewer Brazilians can afford it. This is why we came here.
Over the weekend, the bulls’ sponsors attempted to co-opt demonstrations by asking visitors to bring food for a donation. Still, the bull continued to roast itself.
The town hall’s town planning body summoned the sponsors of the sculpture and the artist who made it for a meeting. His main objection with the Golden Beast was that the sponsors had not sought pre-approval and this apparently violated a law limiting what can be displayed outdoors. Sao Paulo limits outdoor advertising.
There is a law and it must be respected. Everyone should be aware of the law before they do something, said Viviane Rubio, an advisor to the town planning body, at Tuesday afternoon’s meeting. You had to let us know before you put it there, she said.
The creator of the bulls, artist and architect Rafael Brancatelli, expressed his contrition.
I wasn’t trying to be disrespectful or go over anyone’s head. The lesson has been learned, he said. In another initiative, we will definitely look for you first.
On the orders of the Sao Paulo stock exchange, a crane carried the bull away on Tuesday evening, its head and horns wrapped in plastic.
Maria Gomes, who has worked in the area for 30 years, said on Wednesday she was satisfied with the removal of the sculpture, which she initially thought was an advertisement for a barbecue restaurant and found hideous. Still, she felt the bull may have been unfairly blamed.
He was a scapegoat, said Gomes, 67. Now that it’s gone, it’s better. But it’s actually the same degraded city center years ago.
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