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Columbus, axed (photo via Imgur)

In a not-so-subtle act of defiance against the contentious Christopher Columbus, someone in Detroit celebrated Columbus Day this year by taping an ax to a bust commemorating the explorer, splashing on some red paint for full dramatic effect, the Detroit Free Press reported. The hatchet was removed shortly after the discovery of the defacement, and city officials cleaned the fake blood this morning, according to HistoricDetroit.org. Cristoforo is now squeaky clean, after receiving a 10-minute scrub courtesy of a power washer, and he continues to preside over a busy intersection in downtown Detroit, near city hall. The culprit has not yet been caught.

The bust, made of bronze with a Travertine marble base, is the work of Italian sculptor Augusto Rivalta and was dedicated exactly 105 years ago on Columbus Day, in honor of the city’s Italian population. It also features a plaque that describes Columbus as a “great son of Italy” who “discovered America.”

This hasn’t been a great year for the 15th-century colonizer. In July, he somehow got caught up in another public art protest far beyond his time, when vandals in Boston tagged another statue of Columbus with red paint. There they left a more anachronistic message: “Black Lives Matter.”

h/t Detroit Free Press

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Claire Voon

Claire Voon is a former staff writer for Hyperallergic. Originally from Singapore, she grew up near Washington, D.C. and is now based in Chicago. Her work has also appeared in New York Magazine, VICE, Gothamist, Artnews, Smithsonian Magazine,...

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