The rough outline had barely been sketched onto the wall when the Students' Union began hearing complaints.
The SU, in a bid to spruce up the walk from MacEwan Student Centre to Science Theatres, hired two volunteer painters to create a colourful mural on the link's barren walls. The vibrant mural, yet to be completed, has already been criticized by some for its depiction of a busty and scantily-clad mermaid. The SU received three complaints within a week at the beginning of March.
"The biggest problem they had was that the mermaid's breasts were too big," said SU Vice-President Events Richard Bergen. "They believed [the mermaid's] body proportions were not realistic or representative of what a woman actually looks like."
According to Bergen, this issue was foreseen early on. The design for the mural was first put on paper and was presented to Bergen for approval.
"The original drawing had her naked," said Bergen, who promptly had the artist cover her up.
He also reiterated that the mermaid should be well proportioned, adding "we did not want a toothpick-thin Disney character."
Two people contacted Bergen via e-mail and, after some discussion, subsequently dropped their complaints. One student visited the SU office in person. This student was upset, saying the mermaid poorly reflected the university and questioned what it was doing on the walls of the institution.
Carolyn J. Blum, of the Feminist Initiative Recognizing Equality club which raises awareness on women's issues on campus, said her group was contacted before the mural went up to see if they were offended.
"The space could have been filled with something more tasteful," said Blum. "We are not, however, offended by the mural, especially since we were asked our opinion before hand."
The mermaid's creator was unavailable for comment. His partner, however, said they had been stopped while painting a couple times by angry pedestrians.
Currently, the SU has no plans to alter the mural or get rid of the mer- maid.