The artist whose horse sculpture was torn apart by vandals in a Brookswood park over the weekend said it is the community that has lost something through the senseless act of destruction, not her personally.
Marilyn Dyer, a former Langley resident who now lives in South Surrey, said that although she reacted with disbelief to news that the life-sized fibreglass sculpture she spent two and a half months painting had been vandalized, she isn’t upset for herself.
For her, the reward was in the creative process.
“I had so much joy doing it — my part was done,” said Dyer, a retired Langley Fine Arts School teacher.
Instead, it is the Brookswood community, the people who sponsored the sculpture, the Langley Arts Council and Langley as a whole she feels have been injured by the act of vandalism.
“I think the wider community should use this as a symbol of the destruction that goes on.
“It seems that there are people who just can’t accept that there is something nice in their community,” said Dyer.
Working on the assumption that the vandals were youths, Dyer, 80, asked her grandchildren what would make teenagers do it.
One answer was that they must be very unhappy people, she said.
“They’re angry at life and they have to take it out on something.”
It was sometime after 9 p.m. on Saturday that the statue, provided by the Langley Arts Council and sponsored by the Brookswood Merchants Association, was destroyed.
The horse was decapitated, chopped off at the hoofs and left lying on the ground. It was discovered by an employee of the Township of Langley’s parks department.
The sculpture had been placed in the Brookswood Water Park at 200 Street and 40 Avenue after spending the winter on display inside the Brookswood Shoppers Drug Mart.
A commenter on The Times website questioned why a valuable work of art had been placed in a dimly lit park, however Dyer believes that shouldn’t matter.
The park is a place where children gather, and the horse, painted with bright metallic, blue and turquoise swirls, was intended to delight them, she said.
While Dyer would like the police to catch the people who did it, she said it isn’t to punish them, but to try to understand why they would want to destroy something that was meant to enhance the community.
“It was put there for a good reason.
“I think everyone who saw it realized it was a thing of beauty for the community,” she said.
The fibreglass horses, which are part of the community-wide “Horsing Around Langley” arts initiative, can take up to 300 hours to complete and sponsors have paid up to $10,000 to have the horses placed in their community.
“This senseless act of criminal behaviour makes me feel ill. I really can’t believe this has happened, as this was to benefit the whole community,” said Rosemary Wallace, LAC president.
Another horse, which stands inside the lobby of City Hall on Douglas Crescent, was intended for display in nearby Linwood Park, but Wallace said she is now reconsidering that.
“I guess it’s going to be on hold,” she said. “It’s kind of up in the air right now.”
Several more of the sculptures are displayed outside the Langley Arts Council’s gallery space on Fraser Highway. Those are brought inside each night, for safekeeping, said Wallace.
“The sad thing is, it’s something the public really enjoys,” she said, noting people stop to take photos with the horses every day.
“I know there are worse things in the world . . . but who would take the time to saw off a horse’s head?”
The pieces of the damaged horse were gathered and taken to an auto body shop, where technicians who work with fibreglass will attempt to reattach the head and feet.
After that, Dyer would like to see it returned to the Brookswood park.
“I think we should put it back. It’s supposed to be for the children in the children’s park,” Dyer said.
“I’m willing to get it there. I’m willing to paint and sand and do whatever.”
A reward of $500 is being offered for information leading to the charge and arrest of the vandals.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the arts council at 604-534-0781 or the Langley RCMP at 604-534-3211.