Vagina on beaver sculpture causes controversy [PHOTO]

Is that a vagina on that beaver?

At least 20 passersby on the Bemidji Sculpture Walk certainly thought so, and they called City Hall to complain.

That led to City Manager John Chattin removing the offending beaver.

Now some are crying censorship, and there's a Facebook campaign to bring the beaver back.

Bemidji has long cherished the beaver as its mascot, but for one of the nine artists chosen to paint four-foot-tall beaver statues, the obvious sexual double entendre may have proven too juicy to resist.

The beaver in question is called "Gaea" and celebrates women, but artist Deborah Davis says she wasn't thinking about vaginas when she painted the beaver.

"I didn't understand that some people saw genitalia. ... I understand people see different things in art, and they need to be free to do that. ... My intent was to paint a praying woman."

A 360 view of "Gaea"
A 360 view of "Gaea"
Deborah A. Davis

Seriously, Davis can't understand why all you perverts keep looking at that giant beaver and seeing a vagina. Davis is a former kindergarten teacher and an ordained pastor--certainly not the kind of woman who would paint a vagina on a beaver that was to be put on public display.

"I did not intend it to be sexual or titillating in any way," said Davis, noting she is a former kindergarten teacher and current ordained pastor who has counseled women and girls.

"I do fanciful women 100 percent of the time. I care about women," Davis said, noting that she considered how the sculpture would be viewed by children and others. "I would never do pornography; I am anti-pornography."

Could this all be an innocent misunderstanding? When you look at this beaver, do you see a vagina?

UPDATE: City Council voted unanimously to return "Gaea" to the Bemidji Sculpture Walk.

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