Weston beheaded Theresa May sculpture branded 'sick'

Theresa May sand sculpture Image copyright Ben Birchall/PA
Image caption Sculptor Johannes Hogebrink said the piece depicts the "painful" nature of Brexit

A sand sculpture depicting Theresa May beheading herself with a guillotine has been branded "gruesome" and "sick".

Dutch artist Johannes Hogebrink said his Brexit-inspired piece in Weston-super-Mare shows the prime minister as she "attempts to cut Britain off from Europe".

However, the sculpture has angered some people who have described it as "a sick insult" and "violent rhetoric".

North Somerset Council said it "welcomed" the "thought-provoking" art.

Mr Hogebrink described the work, which features in the Weston Sand Sculpture Festival, as depicting the "painful" nature of Brexit.

"May's appearance in my piece is most tragic, she was never behind Brexit in the first place and she is clearly sacrificing herself over this entire deal," he said.

"To cut off England from Europe is to cut off her head, but she is doing it anyway."

Image copyright Ben Birchall/PA
Image caption One local resident has described the sculpture as a "gruesome display"

Mr Hogebrink said by including sculptures of Russia president Vladimir Putin and US president Donald Trump "cheering on" Mrs May, it put Brexit in a "broader, global context".

However, people have taken to Facebook to criticise the piece.

One person described it as a "gruesome display", and said the council "must take immediate action to remove this sick insult to our nation's Prime Minister".

Another added: "I really don't think violent rhetoric is healthy in politics, particularly at the moment."

Festival organiser Nicola Wood argued: "We're trying to get people to stop and readdress their position on Brexit by looking at it from a broad view."

Image copyright Ben Birchall/PA
Image caption The piece also features a caricature of President Trump

A spokesman for the local authority said: "Art reflects issues that are important to the world around us. Often these are portrayed in a controversial way.

"Weston is no stranger to thought-provoking art. The town is gaining a growing reputation for showcasing art in many formats and we welcome this."

The festival, which features more than 30 sculptures, is in its 14th year and runs until 1 October.

Image copyright Ben Birchall
Image caption Vladimir Putin also features in Mr Hogebrink's work

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