“Emperor of Flemish song” gets statue in his hometown
A year later than originally planned a statue of the man known as the “Emperor of Flemish song has been unveiled in the West Flemish town where he was born and raised. Will Tura celebrates his 81st birthday today. With a career spanning more than 60 years Will Tura whose real name is Arthur Blanckaert is Flanders’ best-known recording artist and has sold many hundreds of thousands of records in Belgium and The Netherlands since he released his first single in 1957.
The statute that was unveiled in Veurne on Sunday was intended as a celebration of Will Tura’s 80th birthday last year. However, the coronavirus crisis led to its inauguration being put back by a year.
Although he has lived in Brussels for many years Will Tura never forgot his roots and he is an honorary citizen of Veurne. The singer and musician was present in person for the unveiling of the statue in Veurne’s Stadspark.
A somewhat emotional Will Tura told VRT Radio 2 West Flanders that “I think that it is very well-made and highly original. I am very grateful to the people at Veurne City Council, I love them!”
The statue was made by Georges Schelstraete from Oostrozebeke (West Flanders). He was the winner of a competition organised by the City of Veurne to make a bronze statue of Will Tura for his 80th birthday.
Georges Schelstraete told VRT Radio 2 “I was greatly honoured to be given to commission and I worked very hard on it. I wanted to portray him more as a composer than as a performer. Sunday was the first time that he had seen it and he went to sit next to it straight away. He was very enthusiastic had he gave his famous smile”.
Fans too can go and sit next to the statue on the bench next to it and take a photograph. The seat of the bench can be folded upwards to allow wheelchair users to also be able to sit next to the statue.