COURTESY HONOLULU ACADEMY OF ARTS
Two Chinese horse statues were landmarks in front of the Honolulu Academy of Arts until a group of males vandalized one of the statues early Monday morning. CLICK FOR LARGE
Vandals break horse statue in front of Academy of Arts
A Chinese horse statue that has greeted generations of visitors to the Honolulu Academy of Arts was vandalized early Monday morning.
The statue is one of a pair of horse statues placed at the Beretania Street entrance to the museum in 1978.
Both statues were removed after the vandalism. Only two raised concrete slabs remain.
"That's really sad. It's crazy," said Celeste Ballentyne, who walks by the statues every day on her way home from work. "This is something that is sacred. You leave it alone. Art museums, churches are not supposed to be touched."
Chris P. Atherall, security operations chief at the academy, said, "These horses go back a long time. It's distressing to many people to see them gone."
Atherall said a security officer heard shouting coming from the bus stop on Beretania Street in front of the museum at about 2:40 a.m. Monday.
The officer saw four males running toward the statue, jumping on it and kicking it. They knocked the statue over, breaking the horse's leg in several pieces, Atherall said. The suspects then ran away.
He added that there was video of the incident taken by a security camera. The video is being reviewed to see if there are images that could help identify the suspects.
Atherall said he was called in Monday morning and personally stood guard over the statue to make sure no one stole pieces of the statue's leg until it was removed at 8:30 a.m.
"The good news is we believe it is repairable," Atherall said.
Atherall said both statues were removed because leaving only one horse in place looked odd.
According to a brochure at the academy, the statues originally stood in front of the Gump's store in Waikiki until the store closed. The granite or marble Ming-style horses were purchased and donated to the Academy of Arts.
Police spokeswoman Michelle Yu said the case is under investigation, but there are no suspects. Anyone with information is asked to call the detective division of the Police Department at 529-3115.