Nice’s carnival replaced by… a giant blue Covid sculpture

City authorities say the sculpture is their way of marking the traditional carnival which is cancelled this year due to Covid-19. The Connexion asked people passing by what they think of it

17 February 2021
The 'Carnavalovirus, l'usurpateur' sculpture in Nice, erected to mark the annual city carnival that has been cancelled due to Covid-19
By Thomas Brent

The giant blue "Carnavalovirus, l'usurpateur" sculpture has attracted a lot of attention since it was erected on Nice’s main square Place Massena yesterday (February 16) by city authorities. 

It depicts a Covid-19 virus with a crown on its head and a moving syringe and surgical face mask. 

“Covid-19 tries, at the beginning of this year, to crown itself king of the Nice Carnival 2021, by trying to steal the crown and place it on its head,” the Ville de Nice wrote of the sculpture.

“But it struggles...Its little ‘mandibles’ are too short. The mask and the vaccine shorten them every day. The reign of the usurper of the world is coming to an end and the planet will soon be completely rid of it!”

Five carnival workers spent around ten days and 350 hours building the sculpture - so what do people make of it?

Nice tourist Marius, 85, thinks the statue is “well made”. “I think it’s quite pretty too,” he told The Connexion

He is visiting the city from Toulouse for a few days with his wife and they had stopped by the sculpture to take a photo. 

Marie, 60, lives in Nice and was walking through the square when she stopped to have a look. 

She said it was nice but was surprised the authorities made it as “the Covid situation is very serious and the statue is quite mocking”. 

But she was impressed by its originality.

Her daughter, who was with her but who did not want to give her name, said she liked it overall but was not a fan of the colour, saying it should be red and black, not blue.

Felix, 69, is also on holiday in Nice from his home in Seine-Saint-Denis near Paris. He said that the sculpture was a “good idea”.

“The struggle against Covid has been very threatening. It represents it well.”

Not everyone has been as complimentary about the statue on social media. One Twitter user commented on the Ville de Nice page that the sculpture was “in very bad taste” and others just wrote “nul”(“rubbish”). 

In keeping with carnival tradition, the sculpture will be burned on February 27. The crown will be spared, though, and placed on the head of the “king of the carnival” next year. 

The annual Nice carnival is one of the biggest and most famous in the world. It became an official event in 1873 but there are records of it dating back to 1294. 

The next carnival is planned for February 2022 when the theme will be “king of animals”. 

Read more:

Creating carnival works of art is full-time business

Airbnb hosts in Nice welcome court reversal of mayor’s ban

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