Crime: Police hunt for person who tried to decapitate Fitzroy banana statue

Police are a step closer to finding the person responsible for trying to chop up a controversial art installation that cost a local council $22,000. But they need your help.

Victorian police are a step closer to learning who tried to “decapitate” the Fitzroy banana statue, releasing images of a person they believe may be able to help with their vandalism investigation.

The art installation attracted controversy in recent days after it was revealed the City of Yarra council paid $22,000 for its creation, splitting public opinion, with nearby businesses calling it a “shocking” waste of money.

The community was shocked further this week after the taxpayer-funded statue was found vandalised, in an apparent decapitation attempt.

Police on Sunday released CCTV footage of a man they believe may help them solve the alleged crime, which they say happened on the corner of Rose St and Brunswick St between 9pm on November 25 and 6am on November 26.

Police said the man was perceived to be caucasian in appearance, in his mid-to-late 20s, about 175cm tall and has short black hair.

He was wearing a black jacket, black pants and blue face mask. He was also in possession of what appears to be a hacksaw.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers.

The City of Yarra spent a fifth of a $100,000 taxpayer-funded grant from the TAC on the artwork – dubbed “Fallen Fruit” – in Rose St, Fitzroy.

A council spokeswoman said the sculpture, installed in early November, “activates” the area, encourages increased pedestrian activity and had been “well received by residents and visitors”.

A 300-word description of the artwork published on the council’s website says it attempts to “subvert” the 1970s phenomenon of oversized, kitsch roadside objects.

“The work does this by employing the symbol of the banana, anthropomorphised through the inclusion of a human skol, a memento mori to meditate on our Western tendencies towards unsustainable desires and excess,” the description reads.

“Using absurdity and humour as an entry point, this oversized pop object reveals the ‘infallibility’ of the superhuman figure as social myth.”

Artist Adam Stone said the purpose of his banana sculpture was to represent the overconfidence in western society’s approach to the climate and finite natural resources.

“This is a very small budget compared to what councils spend on other projects and consulting for those projects,” he told the Herald Sun.

“The production budget provided a public artwork as well as employment for a professional painter, artist’s assistant, engineer and local concrete contractor, all of whom were sole traders.

“My ambition was to create a sculpture people could enjoy of all different backgrounds.”

Originally published as Police closer to finding person responsible for attempted ‘decapitation’ of Fitzroy’s banana statue

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