Students tell of shock at Antony Gormley 'suicide' statue on roof

Jonathan Mitchell
The statue has been called "tactless" by concerned students: Lynn Dicks

A statue of a man standing on the over edge of a university roof has prompted a public backlash, with some people claiming it looks like a man about to commit suicide.

Students have spoken out against the statue, which is one of three by artist Anthony Gormley installed across the University of East Anglia (UEA) campus.

Passers-by have reportedly mistaken one of the statues, which stares out over a library rooftop, for a real person.

Last year, suicide rates among students rose to their highest level since 2007, leading one student to brand its installation as “tactless” during exam season.

The statue on top of a library building at the University of Anglia (Hazel Hughes)

The university has staunchly defended the statue, saying it is “very proud” to be hosting such a “thought-provoking” piece.

UEA graduate Kimberley Davies, 22, told the Eastern Daily Press: “It’s a bit tactless to put a statue on top of a building filled with people on edge during exam season.

“Sombreros are a no-no, but making passers-by think someone’s about to commit suicide is art – I’m out.”

One passer-by wrote on Instagram: “Is this some kind of sick joke.”

Artist Anthony Gormley is best known for creating the iconic Angel of the North.

He said the statue is designed to show “the meeting between sky and earth, mediated by architecture”.

A spokesman for the UEA said: "The university is very proud to be hosting thought-provoking work by an artist of such international acclaim - continuing UEA's long relationship with sculpture and the visual arts.

“The reaction of the university community since the announcement last month about this exciting project has been overwhelmingly positive and we are sure the three figures will become much-loved focal points in our campus landscape."

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