Haunting lifelike ‘drowning girl’ sculpture in river freaks out locals

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An eerie sculpture showing a girl drowning in a river has spooked locals after it appeared overnight.

Heated debate has gripped a Spanish city this week over a bizarre sculpture that appears to show a giant girl 'letting herself drown' water.

While some believe the artwork to be powerful and moving, others have said that it leaves them stressed, and is an unwelcome addition to the view near the Zuri Zuri Bridge in the centre of the city

The haunting piece by Mexican artist Ruben Orozco is called 'Bihar' means 'tomorrow' in Basque, the native language of the region.

It was installed in the River Nervion in the middle of the night last Thursday, without any prior warning.

Part of what is causing such a stir is the shocking effect the art has at different times of day. When the tide is out, the girl's head is seen peering just above the water, as if she was just about to go under the water.

But when the tide comes in her head becomes submerged, creating an eerie still image of her final moments.

Some residents have spoken of experiencing a range of different emotions when looking at the controversial artwork.

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One local named Triana Gil commented to Reuters: "At first it gave me a feeling of stress, when more of the face was out of the water, but now to me she communicates sadness, a lot of sadness."

"She doesn't even look worried, it's as if she is letting herself drown."

Another onlooker, who said her name was Maria, thought at first that the sculpture had been installed by the city as a memorial to a past tragedy.

She said: "I learnt today that's not what it's about, but I think people can each give their own meaning to it."

The message behind Orozco's floating statement is to ask questions about global warming and sustainability, with the artist saying that she represents what might happen "if we continue to bet on unsustainable models".

He has form for making waves in the city — two years ago, the Mexican provoked discussion about loneliness with a life-size statue of a lone woman sitting on a park bench.

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