Emiliano Coletta, a visual arts professor at the university, stated that he and Mr. Longo had gone to meet with the animal rights protesters in order to have a “civil dialogue.”
“I understand that not everyone will like the work, but it bothered me that it came down to discussing porchetta. After all, we are a fine arts academy,” he explained.
His colleague, the artist Davide Dormino, who teaches sculpture, said that critics had missed the statue’s message of conviviality. Porchetta was a street food that “brought people together.” We would have cut slices and eaten it if it had been real,” he said.
However, he believes that public art is always a gamble, and that “artists must understand that public space belongs to everyone and that people have the right to express their opinions.”
Simone Pizzani, a waiter at a restaurant on the same square as the statue, described the piece as “dark.” “Perhaps it would have been more fun if the pig was standing, smiling, and holding a sandwich,” he speculated.
Mr. Longo stated that he was grateful for the opportunity to exhibit his work in public and that criticism was a necessary part of the process. “There will be people who like it and others who don’t,” he explained.
However, the escalation of personal attacks has made him fearful for his safety. Vandalizing his artwork elicited a violent reaction from him, he explained on Friday.
“I did nothing wrong,” he insisted. “People continue to not understand the work, particularly those who do not want to understand it; they have ideals and will continue to have them. Regrettably, I am no one. I’m not going to be the one to persuade them to change their minds.”