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March 29, 2017

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Artist accused of damaging undersea environment in Mexico

MEXICO CITY -- A Polish artist famed for slipping crocheted covers around unlikely objects has gotten into hot water in Mexico for slipping her brightly colored work around underwater sculptures near Cancun.

Agata Oleksiak, who uses the name Olek, said she intervened at the Cancun Underwater Museum this month to call attention to the dangers facing species such as the whale shark.

But museum director Jaime Gonzalez said she did so without permission, and may herself have damaged marine life growing on the sculptures in an environmentally protected area.

"Believe it or not, there is a lot of marine life growing, incrusted in the sculpture, and we gather that this has killed it," he said.

Gonzalez said prosecutors are preparing to lodge charges against her.

"If they want to sue me, I don't know. I can pay them back with crocheting more underwater sculptures," Oleksiak said. "I don't know why would they sue me but maybe they're a little bit upset that I did it there.

"But my intentions were positive and that's the most important thing about my work," she added. "I really want to create a positive message."

In the past, she's put crocheted covers around a bus and a Wall Street statue of a bull.

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