The elephant statue opposite the Africa Museum in Tervuren, in the Flemish-Brabant municipality just outside of Brussels, will be renovated next year, announced the Belgian Buildings Agency on Monday.
Last week, the Buildings Agency, which manages the Federal State's property, began a restoration study on the protected monument, called "Statue of an African elephant," opposite the museum. The sculpture was made with reinforced concrete for the 1935 World Expo in Brussels, and later transferred to the museum and placed on an iron sandstone plinth.
"Even though the elephant is made from concrete, we can see that there is some damage," Johan Vanderborght, spokesperson for the Buildings Agency, told The Brussels Times. "The concrete is also painted, but it is currently not the original colouring, and we want to go back to its original state."
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The restoration study includes an art-historical investigation, with an analysis of the damage, an examination of the metal structure, anchoring, finishing and pointing, among other things.
"Additionally, the elephant is anchored in metal, and concrete and metal is not always a good combination because it often causes cracks," Vandenborght added. "For all these reasons, we are carrying out the study. The results will show us how we can best go about the renovation."
From mid-August, scaffolding will be placed around the sculpture and it will also be fenced off. The study will take about four months and should lead to a concrete proposal of approach for the restoration. This will then form the basis of a tender dossier for the restoration work itself, which is due to start in mid-2023.
Because the statue is a protected monument, both the study and the restoration will happen in close consultation with the Flemish Heritage Agency.