The Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust (SAHMAT) Monday condemned what it called moral policing by the right-wing brigade of Hyderabad, which exerted pressure on an art gallery to cancel gay artist Balbir Krishan's exhibition.
The exhibition, on the theme of nudity and homosexuality, was displayed at the Muse Gallery in Hyderabad and enjoyed a smooth preview Saturday.
However, exhibition curator Kaali Sudheer received a call late night from someone claiming to be a right-wing activist who demanded that the exhibition end.
The gallery complied with the demand as the people making the threats had strong political connections .
An official statement from SAHMAT said:
The work was up on their (gallery's) website and social media, and it is clear there was nothing pornographic or obscene in the works which were male nudes. The gallery was fully aware of the work and had invited the artist to exhibit and the
opening was well attended.
It is because the artist is gay that the moral police of the right has swung into action. Their threats and intimidation are in fact against the law, and the gallery should have complained to the police.
Michelangelo's David and Venus de Milo may soon be required to don fig leaves in Russia, according to a new draft law proposing making erotic artworks inaccessible to young Russians.
Russia banned access for children to erotic and pornographic content last year, though the country's legislation does not provide a clear legal definition of either. Up until now, content deemed as having significant historical, artistic or
otherwise cultural value has been exempt from the ban.
The rule has spared Russian museums, parks and websites from the need to censor works of antique, Renaissance and modern art that depict nude breasts or bottoms. Moscow's Pushkin Museum, which proudly displays a replica of Michelangelo's David
with uncovered genitalia, held an exhibition of nude art just earlier this year.
But a new draft law on information safety for minors, published by the state media and telecoms watchdog Roscomnadzor, proposes removing the exemption for works of art.
The draft law is now for public discussion, for which no timeframe has been announced so far.
An Edinburgh school that has a mural in its assembly hall featuring a golliwog is to hold extra anti-racism lessons in political correctness after a woman protested about the supposedly racist and offensive nature of the picture.
Mary Rocha complained to the police, City of Edinburgh council and MSPs after spotting the image when she visited Wardie primary school as a possible choice for her son. Rocha said she was astonished to find that the mural with the golliwog,
painted in 1936 and featuring scenes from Alice in Wonderland, had been restored in 2011 with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Rocha said:
It goes back to the American black sambo, the blacked-up face. It's offensive to me: I find it racially offensive.
The golliwog is sitting on an alcove ledge above the Alice in Wonderland figure in the mural's central panel. The mural and Wardie school's distinctive architecture are well known in academic circles. They are part of the international Decorated
School project , which is studying art and school buildings with funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Jeremy Howard, a co-ordinator of the Decorated School project said:
This is history: if you start painting it out or get rid of it you're deceiving people about what views were prevalent in the 1930s.
Edinburgh council refused to consider covering up the image but said it would now use additional teaching packs from Show Racism the Red Card at the school. A spokeswoman said:
The mural is of both historical and artistic importance. While we understand the offensiveness of the image, it is in no way indicative of the attitudes of either the school or the council.
Rocha said she would find some other school for her son.
A Bangladeshi artist has criticised the Tower Hamlets Council after it banned some of his work from public display.
Saif Osmani was invited to show his work at the Brady Arts Centre in Hanbury Street as part of a season of Bangladeshi drama and art.
But when Osmani arrived on November 2 he says he was told by a council worker with the responsibility for art that four of his pieces, which combine the Pakistani and Bangladeshi flags, might anger hardliners and would not be shown. Osmani
I was told that due to the political situation in Bangladesh I was unaware of what this series of paintings could trigger with the 'hardliners'.
Osmani said the rest of his work was moved to a corner of the room near the toilet and was later hidden by a pull-up banner.
Akhtar Hussain, of art group Avid Art Agency, said:
It is an absolute disgrace that this level of censoring is taking place in the name of political correctness at an event which was supposed to celebrated British and Bangladeshi arts, but instead curtails the content of the art on display.
An adult education centre in Berlin has re-hung a collection of nude paintings days after censoring them out of deference to Muslims in what critics called an overzealous bid at cultural sensitivity.
The six nude portraits now hang near the public toilets in a second-floor hallway at the Volkshochschule Marzahn-Hellersdorf.
A local politician received more than 300 comments about the initial banning of the nudes. Facebook and text messages and emails ranged from insults to allegations that the neighbourhood was buckling before Islam and needed to be freed
from the religion, according to the daily Berliner Zeitung.
District council member Juliane Witt, who received the messages, overrode the centre's leadership to re-hang the paintings, saying the attempt at religious sensitivity was well-intentioned but infringed on artistic freedom.
The centre's deputy head, Gotthard Haenisch, originally barred the paintings with consideration for Muslim students who might feel uncomfortable with the nudity and be discouraged from coming to class, according to the Berliner
But Ms Witt countered that the move, because it was not requested by students, in itself could be seen as discriminatory.
If you do something to protect someone, then you are defining them, and that can be stigmatising.
Sabine Achour, a professor who focuses on Islam and integration in education at the Free University of Berlin, argues the debate is not one of artistic freedom versus cultural sensitivity, but:
Rather shows how narrow and prejudiced our understanding of Islam is, though Muslims have lived here for decades and have long been active in the art world. It is naive to believe that Muslims have no appreciation for art, or can't distinguish
between art and pornography.
Firoozeh Bazrafkan has the courage to be a truly radical artist and challenge those who might hurt her. She fights for women's rights and intellectual freedom, and her background means her fight has to be directed against radical Islam.
In Denmark Danes reported her to the police for writing that Muslim men abuse and murder their daughters, and adding for good measure that the Koran is more immoral, deplorable and crazy than manuals of the two other global religions combined
Liberal principles once held that the Danish state should only punish Bazrafkan if her words provoked violence. As it was, the court asked for no proof of actual incitement. (There was none to be had.) Instead, it acted as if criticism of
religion was identical to racial prejudice. The white liberal judges therefore ruled that the Iranian-born artist was a racist and gave her a criminal record for condemning honour killings and clerical misogyny.
The indomitable Bazrafkan headed for Passion for Freedom. The annual exhibition is as close as London gets to underground art. The exhibition was to open at London's Unit 24 gallery but the venue pulled out with only days to go. In emails to the
organisers, Unit 24 offered various justifications for wrecking a show that had taken months to arrange. Enemies of the exhibition had made threats, and it was worried about a potential terrorist attack . Unit 24 told The Spectator
it pulled the show because Passion for Freedom could not provide insurance and security.
There was no secret about its decision. But not one of the arts correspondents for the broadsheets or BBC covered the threat to an international exhibition featuring the work of dozens of artists.
Fortunately, the truly radical owners of the Embassy Tea Gallery allowed the rebellious show to take over their space in Southwark, where it will run until Friday. The large crowd on the opening night cheered Firoozeh Bazrafkan.
Dozens of female nude paintings are on display in a three-day art exhibition, S + Z II, at Lokanat art gallery in Rangoon.
With the absence of art censors, the artists say they had a chance to push boundaries.
This is the first big exhibition that I have done to show my nude paintings locally, Sandar Khaing said. Her nude paintings were previously featured in a solo exhibition in the north Thai city of Chiang Mai in 2009. A series of 51 of her
paintings are on display now at the Lokanat exhibition. She explained:
In the past, even the backside of the female nude body was not permitted because of censorship. I was only able to show one or two nude paintings in other group exhibitions, and I would put my paintings in the corner on the top floor of the
exhibition so they could not easily be seen by everyone.
There are no painters who don't produce nude paintings at least once. There are a lot of nude paintings, but they have not been permitted to show. Through this exhibition, other artists will know nude paintings are allowed to be shown now.
The Johannesburg Art Fair has, perhaps understandably, refused to exhibit a satirical painting by Ayanda Mabulu.
The work titled Yakhal'inkomo (Black Man's Cry), is about the deadly shooting at Lonmin's Marikana mine in the North West. On 16 August 2012, 34 striking miners were gunned down during a confrontation with police.
The artwork depicts a miner depicted with bull's horns being attacked by President Jacob Zuma's dog - the police. The president is seen stepping on a dying miner's head.
Mabulu told Eyewitness News:
The painting speaks about the slaughter of black people, black miners, poor people and the marginalised, by those in power, including our president and those who control the economy.
I'm going to continue talking about these stories regardless of who says what.
An artist has blasted a gallery as fearful after discovering her nude paintings had been censored with strategically placed strips of paper.
Danuta Gray has removed her three watercolours of naked women from Birmingham's Botanical Gardens studio two weeks before her exhibition was due to end.
Gallery bosses have stood by their prudery, which was prompted by an easily offended teacher whingeing during a school trip.
It's a nonsense. You can't even see a nipple! They are showing such ignorance.Nudes have been depicted since the fourth century BC. They are present in all cultures. I never thought that the Botanical Gardens would exhibit such hypocrisy,
prejudice and fear. This is England.
The Botanical Gardens management stood by their decision. A spokesprat alluded to political correctness and diversity saying:
The Birmingham Botanical Gardens welcomes diverse audiences from around the world. We do our very best at all times to ensure everyone has an enjoyable time whilst they are on site. Sometimes we have to adapt spaces for use by different sectors
of our audiences at different times
A gallery in Rome has removed photographs of same sex couples kissing in churches after the Catholic Church threatened legal action.
The series of photos, by Gonzalo Orquin, was due to be displayed at the exhibition opening at the Galleria L'Opera. But then the plans were ruined by Vatical censors. Orquin explained to The Local.
A letter arrived from the Vicariate of Rome, an organization that is part of the Vatican, which said the church is against the exhibition. I spoke to lawyers and for security reasons we decided not to show the photos,
The Vicariate, an organization that helps the Pope carry out his functions as Bishop of Rome, confirmed it had sent the letter threatening legal action and claimed the photographs could harm the religious sentiment of the faithful .
Apparently the Italian constitutional law safeguards an individual's religious feeling and the function of places of worship.
15 out of 16 photos in the series are of gay and straight volunteer models. Orquin, who is himself Catholic said:
We went to churches, took the photos at the altar and ran off...it's a bit like a flash mob. A number of times we left because there were a people praying. It wasn't easy.
A park statue with boobs of bronze has wound up the American Family Association (AFA) in Kansas. The AFA lost the first round of their battle after the statue was found to be not obscene. However the AFA have now regrouped for another
ludicrous legal battle.
Accept or Reject is a bronze sculpture donated to Overland Park Arboretum by sculptor Yu Chang, depicting a fractured, topless woman taking a selfie of her exposed (bronze) breasts.
Previously in 2012 a Kansas group of the AFA circulated a petition to convene a grand jury for the purpose of deciding whether the popular statue was illegally obscene. They got the necessary signatures, and a grand jury of Kansas citizens
gathered to... criminally investigate the statue. Fortunately, the grand jury looked at the statue, looked at state obscenity law, and determined that the sculpture in question did not meet the legal definition of obscenity.
Kansas is among a small handful of states that have a citizen-empanelled grand jury law on the books. Under this process, a group can start a petition drive to seek a particular criminal indictment. If they reach the required number of
signatures, around 4,000 in Johnson County, Kansas, a grand jury is empanelled to investigate violations of Kansas law. But until this year, the citizens' influence over the process stopped there.
That changed in 2013. Angry after a string of grand juries failed to return indictments alleging illegal abortion and pornography, groups like Kansans for Life advocated for a bill expanding citizen involvement in the grand jury process. The bill
passed and is now law. Now the law requires the grand jury to call the petition organizer as its first witness, and permits the jury to pay for a special counsel or investigator of its choosing, even to replace the government prosecutor.
The Kansas AFA is now gathering signatures for another attempt at censorship, this time under the new grand jury process.
Update: Brass boobs all a bit to much for Facebook
Facebook's porn filters were apparently so offended by a statue by sculptor Yu Chang that depicts a fractured, topless woman taking a photograph of her exposed (bronze) breasts, that they removed a post last week by the American Civil Liberties
The photo linked to an article about the artwork, which has been the subject of a concerted campaign by social conservatives to get it removed ever since it was installed at the Overland Park Arboretum, south of Kansas City, in 2011. The removal
of the link was accompanied by a 24-hour ban on the ACLU's ability to post to its Facebook page, according to the Washington Post.
Mistakes happen, of course, but in its efforts to appeal the mistaken censorship, the ACLU found out the hard way that getting through to Facebook is a daunting task in and of itself, and that, as the Post put it:,
That's a happy ending of sorts for the ACLU, but as the organization's Lee Rowland points out , ordinary users may not be so lucky. If you don't represent a prominent national organization, it can be a challenge to get Facebook's attention.
Cuban artist Erik Ravelo's latest project is a personal artwork, unrelated to his career as a creative director at Benetton, has managed to outrage the easily offended.
I had people writing me, threatening me, he said in a phone conversation with the Huffington Post. At first the project was fun but it got a little out of hand.
Los Intocables, which translates to The Untouchables, is what Ravelo refers to as a human installation, featuring a variety of issues plaguing children around the world. Several works features both a child and an adult posed
to demonstrate a contemporary evil, whether it be gun violence, molestation or the threat of nuclear war. Each work features a child being crucified on the back of an adult, each scene attempting to tell a different story about the loss of
The human sculptures are then photographed with the child's face blurred, resulting in images as visually jarring as they are conceptually saddening. It's art, it's communication, Ravelo explained.
Facebook obligingly have censored Ravelo's project. Halting his likes at 18,000, he has been prevented from uploading more images. I am used to governmental censorship from Cuba but with this, he paused, my first reaction was
A painting depicting politicians Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev in women's underwear was one of the items Russian authorities have physically censored by raiding a newly-opened St. Petersburg art gallery that had shown solidarity with
Russia's gay-rights movement.
The off-beat gallery, known as the Museum of Authority, opened with an inaugural exhibit called The Rulers that featured paintings by artist Konstantin Altunin of Russian and international public figures.
Much of the inaugural exhibit was raunchy or politically-charged. One painting depicted St. Petersburg politician Vitaly Milonov, who spearheaded a local homophobic gay propaganda law that became the baseline for similar national
Milonov accompanied police at the gallery. Police seized the portrait of Mr. Milonov as well as the painting depicting Messrs. Putin and Medvedev in women's underwear.
Authorities also took two other works of art. One was a painting of Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill with criminal-style tattoos mixing Soviet and religious iconography. The other was one of Yelena Mizulina, the Kremlin-allied Duma deputy and
morality crusader who led the drive to pass Russia's gay propaganda law nationally. That painting was entitled The Erotic Dreams of Deputy Mizulina.
The curator of a Russian museum says he was fired for refusing to censor an exhibition which criticises the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games.
Marat Guelman was dismissed as director of the Perm Museum of Contemporary Art after backing the collection, which portrays a dark side of Russia. The work, entitled Welcome Sochi 2014 , was created by artist Vasily Slonov and features the
Olympic rings as nooses and loops of barbed wire, bloody axes, grenades and a evil looking caricature of Joseph Stalin in a polar bear suit.
Guelman said that he had been sacked by minister of culture Igor Gladnev:
Gladnev just called me and confirmed the fact of my dismissal. The Ministry of Culture, it seems, has confused its role with that of the FSB [the former KGB].
I had hoped that censorship was impossible and illegal.
The new trend of Russian politics is to divide everyone into groups of 'us' and 'them' and the small liberal islands are getting even smaller.
Texas art censors have given Playboy 45 days to take down a neon-lit 40-foot high sculpture of the magazine's iconic bunny logo from a West Texas road.
The Texas Department of Transportation ordered the removal of the sign, called Playboy Marfa , claiming the artwork to be an advertisement, and that Playboy does not have a license for outdoor advertisement in Texas.
The sign is part of a roadside art display designed by New York contemporary artist Richard Phillips and Playboy's creative director of special projects Neville Wakefield. The installation features the offending sign perched atop a post and a
concrete platform displaying a stylized version of 1972 Dodge Charger, a classic American muscle car.
PR Consulting, a firm that represents Playboy said that they do not consider that the art installation by Richard Phillips violates any laws, rules or regulations. Our legal counsel is currently looking into this matter and we hope to resolve
this issue satisfactorily and as quickly as possible.
Police in Sydney, Australia, repeatedly turned up at an art exhibition titled 101 Vagina to make censorship suggestions to photographer Philip Werner.
The exhibition, based on Werner's coffee table book, was on display in Redfern from June 27 to 30. Werner said police showed up four time at the 107 Projects Gallery:
The first time they came they apparently weren't acting on a complaint. I don't know why they came, maybe just to check it out. And they had a look around, realized that it wasn't porn, realized that nothing was displayed in the windows, and
left again. The second time they came, apparently they responded to a complaint that the artwork could be seen through the windows and they suggested, though not demanded ... that the windows be covered.
The next two times the police showed up they were asking the gallery to cover its glass door. The gallery complied with all their requests.
In a promotional video , Werner said the work is about:
Breaking down the taboo around vaginas and around genitalia and sexuality in general, and creating some kind of a counterpoint to the media which is very skewed towards certain body types ... We're all so different. What that means is that we're
also all normal.
The City of Sydney council said they received two complaints about the supposed obscenity of Werner's work. There were also claims that the posters Werner created for the event were also obscene.
Philippines' Office of Ombudsman has dismissed the criminal case filed against controversial artist Mideo Cruz in connection with his allegedly blasphemous collage titled Poleteismo which was part of the Kulo art exhibit
organized by the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) in 2011.
In a joint resolution and joint decision signed on Feb. 28, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said there was no probable cause to hold Cruz and 10 CCP officials criminally liable for violating Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code or the law
which penalizes offenses against decency and customs. Charged along with Cruz were CCP board of trustees.
The Poleteismo piece was a collage showing religious statuettes, religious icons, graduation photos, calendars, maps and images of actors, politicians, sports stars and pop celebrities. It was part of the Kulo art exhibit that featured the work
of 30 artists in June 2011 until an outcry from some nutter groups led to its closure nearly two months later.
The offending item was a Jesus Christ poster with a wooden penis glued to his face.
An exhibition of paintings showing cannibalism and dismemberment is stirring a debate on art censorship in Japan.
Aida Makoto's work at Tokyo's Mori Art Museum last night provoked protests from a Japanese nutter group called People Against Pornography and Sexual Violence.
Monument for Nothing is Makoto's first solo museum show. It is a career retrospective including pictures of Japanese retirees playing croquet with severed heads, a suicide device designed to always fail, and a kamikaze attack on New York
(painted before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001).
Hidden behind a black curtain is a section restricted to people of 18 years old or more, where Makoto shows images of dismembered women and of a multi headed monster having sex featured in the artwork titled, The Giant Member Fuji Vs King
People Against Pornography and Sexual Violence wrote to museum director Nanjo Fumio demanding that the images be removed because the museum was showing sexual, misogynistic material:
It's not so bad compared to manga and anime on the Internet. This artist's vision is about our society, which is hidden and (which) often people don't look at.
The disturbing works encourage the viewer to question violence in all its forms, not to celebrate it.
Athlone Town Council has decided to ask the board of the new municipal art gallery to consider concerns and objections to a current exhibition.
Fine Gael Councillor Mark Cooney had proposed a motion to formally request the Luan Gallery to take down the work of artist Shane Cullen. However, a counter-proposal was passed after several councillors expressed their concern over the censorship
implications of such a move. Tt was agreed instead that the board of the gallery be asked to consider concerns and objections.