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Thursday, 13 February, 2003, 15:34 GMT
'Islamic' art banned from show
The New Art Gallery looming over Walsall
The New Art Gallery is Walsall's tallest building
Two Islamic-themed artworks have been banned from an exhibition amid fears they could cause offence.

Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council ordered the art be removed from the town's New Art Gallery, which is staging a show about the history of the headdress.

The digitally manipulated images show a veiled Statue of Liberty clutching the Koran and the Houses of Parliament converted into a mosque.

The authority issued a statement saying that, during a period of "heightened sensitivity", and following the events of September 11, the artworks could be viewed as "reinforcing controversy, fear and prejudice".

One member of the council said they thought the images might be seen to be unpatriotic at this political moment in time

Gilane Tawadros
Gilane Tawadros, the director and co-curator of the exhibition, told BBC Radio 4's Front Row programme the council was adamant about its decision.

"We were given a choice, it was remove the two images or close the show," she said.

"Walsall Council own and run the New Art Gallery in Walsall and it is in their control.

"This show has been four years in the making and is not a reaction to 11 September," she added.

"The works themselves were made some seven years ago. They have been exhibited in public sites and galleries.

Heightened sensitivity

"What I think is key, is in the meeting when I asked why the images were being removed, one member of the council said they thought the images might be seen to be unpatriotic at this political moment in time."

A statement released by the authority on Thursday said: "After careful consideration, it was decided no to display the two items that had been selected by the curators for inclusion in this exhibition.

"During this period of heightened sensitivity and, following the horrific events of 11 September, it was felt that the images could be viewed as reinforcing controversy, fear and prejudice."

The exhibition, which begins on 14 February, will go ahead without the two images on display.


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See also:

12 Mar 02 | Entertainment
21 Feb 02 | Entertainment
14 Feb 01 | Entertainment
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