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66 wolf statues erected in Dresden to protest far right

March 15, 2016

It's an ominous sight: 66 wolves fill Dresden's main square, poised to attack. For artist Rainer Opolka who erected them, the metal statues are a strong statement against hate and xenophobia.

Rainer Opolka's "The Wolves are Back" installation in Dresden, Copyright: picture-alliance/dpa/S. Kahnert
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/S. Kahnert

Titled "The Wolves are Back," artist Rainer Opolka says the 66 metal statues of wolves that he's created serve as a symbol for the "hate, arsons, neo-Nazis, angry Pegida followers and members of the AfD, who want to shoot refugees."

Measuring nearly two meters each, the statues were installed on Dresden's central Neumarkt square, just in front of the city's historical Church of Our Lady, earlier this week. Dresden is the capital of the German state of Saxony, a region which has increasingly seen racially motivated violence.

The art project, to be inaugurated on Wednesday (15.03.2016), gains poignancy in the wake of Sunday's state elections in Germany. While Saxony did not head to the polls, the euroskeptic AfD party achieved a strong showing in neighboring Saxony-Anhalt, with 24.2 percent of the vote. The party has become well-known for its anti-refugee stance, speaking out against the estimated one million refugees who have entered Germany within the past year.

Asked in a YouTube interview by independent reporter @streetcoverage whether he was concerned that the statues could be vandalized, Opolka replied, "Perhaps they can be damaged. But the idea cannot be damaged."

The 66 wolves and an information panel encouraging "discussion about racism and violence" will remain at Neumarkt in Dresden until March 23. Opolka then intends to take the installation to the capital cities of other states, like Potsdam and Berlin.

kbm/cat (with epd)