The nine metre tall bronze Pinocchio completed its journey from Seattle, half way round the world to the western Swedish countryside town of Borås on Friday.
The 9 million kronor ($1.5 million) statue was welcomed by a large crowd in the Borås sunshine as the debate over the controversial work of art gave way to cheers.
County governor Lars Bäckström introduced the Pinocchio in a short ceremony and gave the instruction to 100 members of a local children’s choir to pull a rope and reveal the statue.
Jim Dine was in Borås to watch his work take its place.
“It has been a long journey for me. For the boy. It looked good in Walla Walla but looks even better here. He is in my heart and always will be,” the 72-year-old artist said to the assembled Borås residents.
The statue was commissioned by town officials several years ago. According to local politicians, Dine has a special interest in the Pinocchio story and in the Swedish town.
The prospect of having a gigantic Pinocchio serving as a gateway to their city continues to divide Borås residents however and not everybody was cheering on Friday afternoon. In a vote taken last year to approve the statue, 40 councillors voted for the statue, while 28 voted against it.
The statue is dedicated to Gustaf Tenggren, a Swedish illustrator that worked on the Disney film of the classic chidlren’s story of Pinocchio. Tenggren came from nearby Alingsås.