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Last Updated: Monday, 26 July, 2004, 11:11 GMT 12:11 UK
Mock bull fight 'is work of art'
The mock bull fight
The arts group says its bulls are based on abstract Picasso drawings
Performers staging a mock bull fight which has led to threats of protests by animal rights activists have said the event is a work of art.

The dance and performance event on the beach is part of Margate Fiesta, a celebration of Spanish culture.

Isle of Thanet Arts said the work was based on street festivals in Spain and was highly abstract - the bulls and puppets are based on Picasso drawings.

Protesters threatening to stop the show say it uses cruelty as entertainment.

Campaigner Ivan Darch said: "Bull fighting is a cruel, barbaric tradition, whether in a real or mock situation.

The inspiration is much deeper in terms of street performance and not as a replication of bull fighting
Philip Oldfield, artistic director

"If someone was to say let's have a mock rape, or build twin towers out of sand and have a re-enactment of September 11, it just wouldn't happen.

"Animal cruelty can't be used as entertainment in this day and age."

He said it would take only one child to believe bull fighting was a dance between a bull and matador and then ask to see a genuine event, to boost audience numbers for real bull fights.

But Philip Oldfield, artistic director of the arts group, said both the opera Carmen and the passadouble, a ballroom dance, were based on bull fighting and asked if they would also lead to protests.

He said: "This project is inspired by a street festival which happens around Catalonia, where people dress as devils and run through the streets and have fireworks attached to sticks.

"The actual bulls we have made are inspired by Picasso drawings and are very abstract - the puppets don't look like human beings and are also more abstract pieces.

"The inspiration is much deeper in terms of street performance and not as a replication of bull fighting."

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