Graffiti sprayed on Damien Hirst's Charity statue

The statue being installed alongside an image of the graffiti on the statue The graffiti was sprayed on the skirt of the statue during Tuesday night

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A 22ft (6.7m) high statue by Damien Hirst being displayed on a balcony in Bristol has been vandalised.

A graffiti tag was sprayed on the £1.5m sculpture during Tuesday night at the Royal West of England Academy (RWA).

The 3.5-tonne statue is based on the "collection box girl with teddy bear and leg in callipers" used by a charity formerly known as the Spastics Society.

The RWA said it was "disappointed" at the vandalism but said it would not deter it from hosting outdoor art.

The painted bronze statue called Charity is the creation of conceptual artist Hirst, whose notable works include a "pickled shark" suspended in formaldehyde and a skull encrusted in diamonds.

Bristol-born Hirst "scuffed her appearance and burgled her charity box" as a comment on social injustice.

The statue formed part of the Romance in the Age of Uncertain Charity exhibition and was originally installed outside London's White Cube gallery in 2003.

The RWA added the statue was covered by an insurance policy and that the graffiti would be cleaned off.

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