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The Black Virgin Mary Statue In Canada Has Been Vandalized, According To Officials

he Notre Dame D’Afrique (Our Lady of Africa) was altered with white paint — Photo Credit: waymarking.com

 

Officials in the Canadian city of Ottawa said they did not authorize the alteration of the face and hands of a popular Black Virgin Mary statue with white paint. The Notre Dame D’Afrique (Our Lady of Africa) is located in Richelieu-Vanier Park, according to CBC.

In response to the noticeable change, the city stated that it suspects it was an unapproved act of vandalism. According to Vanier Museopark, the Society of Missionaries of Africa erected the statue in 1955. The location of the statue was also once owned by the society. And the statue was erected after the society’s priests chose the holy figure as their patron saint in 1938.

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In Africa, the Virgin Mary is said to be portrayed as a figure with dark skin. The Vanier statue was depicted similarly until its face and hands were recently painted white. And, while the city is in charge of statue maintenance, it told the news outlet that it did not arrange for the monument to be repainted, adding that it “appears to be vandalism.”

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Following the incident, Ottawa police and the city’s corporate office were made aware of the repainting. Officials are also arranging for the statue’s restoration.

“Work has since begun to have the statue restored and repainted,” Dan Chenier, Ottawa’s general manager of recreation, cultural and facility services, told CBC in an email. “As a contract has not yet been awarded, we do not have a timeline for completion of this work at this time.”

The Franco-Ontarian Heritage Network’s project officer, Diego Elizondo, told the news outlet in an email that this isn’t the first time the statue has been vandalized. In order to prevent further vandalism, Elizondo stated that lights around the site had to be repaired in 1994.

The statue, along with other items on the site, is protected by a heritage designation. Rideau-Vanier councillor Stéphanie Plante stated that the area has also recorded incidents where such monuments have been vandalized.

“We want to make sure that Rideau-Vanier, because it does include a lot of vulnerable populations, is reflective of the people who live there and that we’re preserving our historic monuments,” Plante said.

“If the population would like to take that down or rename it, I’m absolutely open to those kinds of discussions. But as far as I know, that’s probably another one of many incidents in our ward where people feel like they can be creative with our city infrastructure.”

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Written by How Africa News

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