In the 2013 reality television series Konstkuppen (translated as “The Art Coup”), six well-known artists in six different Swedish cities had six days to collaborate with locals in order to create a new public art piece. One of the participants was artist and comedian Peter Apelgren. He chose Osby, the hometown of his mother-in-law, as the location for crafting his artwork, Apan och Kaninen (“The Bunny and Monkey”), and enlisted the help of local artist Sven-Ingvar Johansson, who is an expert in carving animal figures with chainsaws.
Towering at 15 feet (4.5 meters) and constructed from cellular plastic and fiberglass cloth, the animal figures were modeled after two of Apelgren’s childhood toys. The artist wanted to make something “kind and childlike” as a nod to renowned toy manufacturer BRIO, which was based in Osby for over 100 years and runs a popular toy museum in town.
While some locals found the colossal animal duo comical and jokingly called it Sweden’s modern answer to the Easter Island statues, others thought the large sculptures ruined the scenic lakefront and that they should be moved to a playground instead.
After being vandalized a few times, the artwork was eventually set on fire one summer night in 2013. As a result, the monkey figure was reduced to ashes and the rabbit figure was scorched. However, thanks to local businesses and the Municipality of Osby, the animal pair was restored and re-inaugurated two years later.