Using local materials and craftsmen, artist Florentijn Hofman sculpted a gigantic sculpture of a muskrat taking a peaceful nap in the Dutch countryside. Located at Nieuwerkerk -- the lowest point in The Netherlands at 22.5 foot below sea level -- this rodent sculpture was built to highlight the damage that these animals are said to cause to dykes. Taking up 105 x 26 x 40 feet of space, the hairy animal is obviously not aware of its real-life peers chewing and burrowing into the man-made sea barriers.
Made from local biodegradable materials, the cute giant sculpture blends in with its surroundings. It was built back in 2004 to show the size of the problem that the animals are said to cause to waterworks and dykes in the geographically low-lying country. Hofman‘s Musk Rat was mainly built with local sustainable materials – he started with a wooden structure covered with local thatch.
Thatch is a low-cost material widely used for building roofs and made from various typed of dry vegetation like straw, water reed, or sedge. The rat’s wooden structure was prefabricated in a workshop and taken on-site to be covered and sculpted with the dry plants. Big as the problem and cute as the real thing, Florentijn Hofman’s Muskrat has probably already melted back into the Dutch environment.
Photos © Florentijn Hofman