A PLAN to put up a statue for which First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy posed is causing controversy in a town in the Ile-de-France.
The two-metre bronze statue is to be put up in Nogent-sur-Marne in May – right in the middle of the elections.
The statue represents Bruni-Sarkozy in the overalls of a plumassière – a feather worker - in homage to the (mainly Italian) women who used to work in the town in this traditional (now almost extinct) industry.
According to mayor Jacques Martin (UMP), whose idea the statue was, Carla was the ideal model because she is “the most Italian of Frenchwomen”. She was born in Italy to Italian parents who moved to France in her childhood, and later took French nationality.
The council is reportedly spending €40,000, matched by a private sponsor, developers Cogedim.
However the plan has caused upset in the council ranks. “This small detail [that Bruni-Sarkozy would be the model] was not specified when we voted the budget,” said a right-winger, Marc Arazi, quoted in Le Parisien.
Socialist councillor William Glieb called the project “grotesque” and said it was an “insult to the Italian feather-workers to give them the face of someone super-rich”. Bruni-Sarkozy “does not represent the working class,” he said.
Bruni-Sarkozy posed for photographs which were then used by the sculptor, Elisabeth Cibot.
Plumassières prepare feathers for decorative and clothing purposes.
Photo: Rémy Jouan