BOSTON (WCVB/ABC) —The nine ducks that make up the iconic “Make Way for Ducklings” statue in Boston’s Public Garden were encased in wire cages overnight Friday.
A photo from the garden shows Mrs. Mallard, the mother duck, and her baby ducklings separated by chicken wire cages.
Each duck had a shiny blanket wrapped around it, evoking images of children and parents in detention centers at the United States border with Mexico.
Karyn Alzayer, a Malden artist, said she was behind the idea. She said she had been working on the idea for months.
“The Mallards are Boston’s quintessential immigrant family,” Alzayer said.
“In the book, the ducklings were looking for a place to stay. If that were to happen during today’s climate this would be their fate,” Alzayer said, referring to the cages.
“Since the statue of them is absolutely so beloved, it’s a powerful metaphor about who we get upset about caging and who we don’t,” she added.
The cages were reportedly removed from the ducks by the time most people woke up early Friday morning. A parks department employee told WGBH a homeless man who often helps clean the statues removed them and piled them up next to the iconic ducks.
The Boston Parks and Recreation Department said in a statement to WGBH that it did not approve Alzayer’s installation and “do not permit any installations on top of public art or historical monuments.”
Mrs. Mallard and the entire brood — Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, and Quack — take up 35 feet on old Boston cobblestone in the park.
“I think it’s interesting that the ducks can wear Easter bonnets, Red Sox hats, and Patriots jerseys, but when it comes to what their real fate might be in this country as immigrants, it’s erased pretty quickly rather than opening up a conversation about that,” Alzayer said.
Nancy Schon is the artist behind the iconic ducklings sculpture. It was unveiled in the Public Garden back in 1987. We contacted her for comment, but did not immediately hear back.
(This story was originally published on August 2, 2019)