They used to say it looked like a “giant dildo”, but now a controversial sculpture in Byron Bay has earned itself an even more inglorious nickname — “the giant dildo wrapped in barbed wire”.
In truth that’s just one of the hundreds of ingenious names which have been suggested by irate and sarcastic locals for a divisive 12 metre high landmark which sits slap bang on a newly opened .6 million roundabout.
Known to some as the “Disco Dong” or “Sea Side Shaft” for its glimmering, phallic majesty, taxpayer-funded 5,000 statement has whipped some residents — who have dubbed it an obscene waste of public money — into a fury.
An organised backlash from hundreds of concerned residents is brewing. They say the artwork is a “monumental cock-up” which is out of step with Byron Bay’s famed hippy beach vibe and ruins a formally scenic drive into the beachside community.
After somebody uploaded a new picture of the sculpture onto the Byron Bay Community Board Facebook group yesterday — proclaiming “it’s finished” — all hell broke loose.
Locals had once likened it to a “big silver dildo” when it was smooth, but now that strange metal protrusions seem to be emanating from it sides, the descriptions on social media have hit the next level.
“Now it looks like an aluminium foil roll, you’ve drop and tried to wind back up,” wrote one commenter.
“What happened??? STD???” asked a concerned local.
“I did still have a little hope for this weird giant sparkly dick,” wrote another. “But it’s slowly looking worse and worse.”
“Just need a giant condom to cover it up now,” added a fourth.
However, the sculpture is actually not yet complete and the artist behind it says it will eventually open up to spread bird icons out to create a silhouette — which, it’s claimed, will resemble the shape of the Byron Lighthouse.
Upon commissioning the sculpture, Byron Shire Council’s Chair of the Council’s Public Art Panel, Councillor Sarah Ndiaye, said she was excited that the council had decided to invest in it.
“This is a significant project that reflects some of the creativity, history and natural beauty of this area.” she said, according to Byron Shire news.
“The budget for this installation represents Council’s biggest investment in public art, a key deliverable in Council’s Public Art Strategy.”
However, hundreds are clearly not impressed as a backlash mounts against the artwork.
A petition entitled, “Take down the sculpture that looks like you know what …” is gaining ground with more than 1700 signatures.
“I feel terrible for the person or persons who made the giant new sculpture, but it is an eyesore, and looks a little too close to being a males private organ rather than a lighthouse. Even it it’s not quite finished,” the petition creator Jamie Green wrote.
“Byron has been built on its humbleness and a 12 metre-high sculpture on the drive in completely changes the way we represent our town.”
He claims the drive into Byron Bay used to be one of its “iconic features” — because of the “green rolling hills, the little blue shack with all the second hand surfboards and hitchhikers scattered along the way”.
“This has slowly being changing and it’s been getting less and less green, I am all for growth and things shifting, but could this artwork not have been an opportunity to honour the history of the town and represent the communities values?
“This tall shiny metal object feels like it belongs in Surfers Paradise rather (than) blocking the view of the 117 year old light house.”
It comes after Gold Coast residents also kicked off about a .1 million taxpayer funded roadside artwork “monstrosity”.
The City of Gold Coast said its “gateway” luminous yellow poles would “bookend” the city and become an iconic “welcome” to visitors and “welcome home” for residents ahead of the Commonwealth Games.
The two artworks — one to the city’s north along the Pacific Highway and the other in the south near the airport on the Gold Coast Highway — were supposed to spell out “Gold Coast” and “GC”.
However, the eye-wateringly expensive signs — in particular the one to the city’s north — did not impress local ratepayers.
They said the only way you can read it is by standing stationary and directly in front of it — meaning it just looks like a yellow mess of poles and lights as you drive by.
Even the council’s mayor said the Pacific Highway artwork is an “eyesore” and a “waste of money”.
And, as one phallic Aussie icon is “erected” in Byron Bay, another is coming down in Newcastle.
Last year, it was announced that the city’s phallus-shaped Queen’s Wharf Tower, named by some as “the big penis”, would be demolished this year due to a maintenance bill of .6 million and lack of disabled access.