At 1:30 a.m. on the evening of Friday, 12th of February 2012 a man set fire to an art installation made by Polish artist Julita Wójcik. The work, a giant rainbow made of artificial flowers was meant to serve as a symbol of peace and tolerance for Polish and European society
According to the Gazeta Wyborcza daily, the police and fire department arrived on the scene quickly and managed to extinguish the fire in time to save the remaining 3/4 of the arc. The man was not identified, but a suspect was detained by police.
The Rainbow of 16000 flowers was conceived by Polish artist JulitaWójcik and created by hand with the help of hundreds of volunteers. It graced the Parliament Square in Brussels over the period of the Polish EU Presidency, then was transported to the artist's native Poland to stand in one of the most popular roundabouts in the city - Plac Zbawiciela - Saviour Square. The square hosts a number of popular cafes and bars, and it is among Warsaw's most well-known weekend spots. Since the Rainbow was erected in May, there have been no other criminal incidents reported.
The Adam Mickiewicz Institute, which was involved in the production of Wójcik's piece, released a statement regarding the arson. The director of the institute, referring to the perpetrators as "vandals" said they destroyed an artist's installation, which had grown into the fabric of the city from the very first day, "ruining a symbol of unity, friendship and tolerance across cultures, as far and wide as the earth". He stated,
You have destroyed a work of art, an object that for nearly six months brought a smile to the faces of thousands of Warsaw residents, visitors from all over the world, even football fans (during the Euro 2012 games). You destroyed the work of thousands of volunteers - men, women and children from unemployed, impoverished, troubled homes, who gave their time and energy to bring joy to others.
Editor: Agnieszka Le Nart
Source: Instytut Adama Mickewicza