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Kazakhstan Residents Polarized by Extremely Beautiful, Flammable, 40-Foot Squirrel

Illustration for article titled Kazakhstan Residents Polarized by Extremely Beautiful, Flammable, 40-Foot Squirrel
Screenshot: Instagram

Who knew such a beautiful, thicc lady could inspire such controversy? A 40-foot squirrel art installation was erected in Almaty, Kazakhstan, during the city’s recent Art Energy festival, costing residents 23 million Kazakh tenge (about $67,000) in public funds, BBC reports. My girl is made of straw and wood on a steel frame, which has some folks crying “fire hazard!” Some metropolis dwellers think she was a big ol’ waste of money, others think she’s real cute and brings joy to children.


The squirrel, which was designed by UK artist Alex Rinsler and South African sculptor Marius Jansen van Vuuren, is one in a series—there’s a big-ass straw fox in Shanghai right now, too:


Rinsler told the publication the squirrel was meant to symbolize life in Almaty (but, like, he doesn’t live there?): “Squirrels are our urban neighbors. Like us, they adapted to life in the city, and, like us, they need the resources to survive and thrive.” Okay, guy.

From BBC:

The local city hall reportedly contributed 15 million tenge to the installation, which has led some to question the priorities of local government.

“She looks more like a rat,” said social media user Tagir, adding that the funds “could have helped those who need money for operations”.

Another user said the installation was a “disgrace” and a waste of “our taxes”.

My girl will stay in Almaty for at least nine months (if she makes it that long). Then, who knows!

Senior Writer, Jezebel. My debut book, LARGER THAN LIFE: A History of Boy Bands, is out now.

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There’s always arguments against public art projects as they cost tax payer money. While yes, money could be used elsewhere, I think people underestimate the power of art (whether good or bad). It helps beautify areas and can bring in tourism money (lots of people may go see this squirrel!). Public art budgets are usually really small compared to a city’s budget as well- it’s the same how the GOP moans about PBS funding, foreign aid funding, etc, when they are drops in the bucket compared to military, medicaid, etc. It looks bad when you said how many thousands of dollars.