Sculptor: Wellesley Sleepwalk should bring empathy - 7News Boston WHDH-TV

Sculptor: Wellesley Sleepwalk should bring empathy

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WELLESLEY, Mass. (WHDH) - The artist who created Sleepwalker, a sculpture on display at Wellesley College said he’s shocked at the controversy.

"This is a sculpture I wanted to people to feel empathy towards, because there’s pathos in this sculpture, it’s almost a sad sculpture,” creator Tony Matelli said.

But empathy isn’t the emotion some people felt when they first saw the statue.

Several hundred people have signed a petition saying the sculpture should be removed because it could make sexual abuse victims feel unsafe on the all-women campus.

This is Matelli’s third sleepwalker statue, but it’s the first one to be displayed outside in public.

According to Matelli the Davis Museum at Wellesley College not only gave permission for the statue, they encouraged it.

"The idea of having sleepwalker out in the beautiful landscape of Wellesley, the museum was really excited about it and so was I," he said.

Matelli said he loves all of the attention, as long as it makes people think and brings them in to see his whole exhibit.  

"It is funny, lots of people interact with it. People dress it up, people play around it, people pose with it, they take selfies with it. That seems perfectly legitimate to me."

Sleepwalker will be on exhibit through spring and into the summer, Matelli said he hopes by then people will be comfortable and see the sculpture as a friend.
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