Artists Place Tiny Rabbit in Mandela Statue’s Ear

A new, 29.5-foot sculpture of Nelson Mandela is billed as the biggest statue of the South African leader. It also has a tiny, barely visible quirk: a sculpted rabbit tucked inside one of the bronze ears.

South African officials want the miniature bunny removed from the statue, which was unveiled outside the government complex in Pretoria, the capital, on Dec. 16, a day after Mandela’s funeral. The department of arts and culture said it didn’t know the two sculptors, Andre Prinsloo and Ruhan Janse van Vuuren, had added a rabbit, said to be a discreet signature on their work.

The bronze rabbit, sitting on its haunches with one floppy ear, is about half the height of the ear canal.

“It doesn’t belong there,” said Mogomotsi Mogodiri, a department spokesman. “The statue represents what everyone in South Africa is proud of.”

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