Thursday, 10 October 2013

Reponse from the Royal Ulster Academy

My friend Padráig Ó Tuama  also was upset about the story in the Belfast Telegraph about the removal of Paul Walls The Kiss from their exhibition. He said:

"Having heard about this, I wrote immediately to RUA. Colin Davidson, the president of RUA, wrote back to me within minutes. He is aghast at how his words have been misrepresented in the media. He said that the painting in question is of an adult nature, and that the decision has nothing to do with the gender of the individuals kissing. Given that school aged children come to the exhibition, they decided, together with the artist, not to include the picture because of the adult nature of the image - not because of the fact that it is two women kissing."

He received the following statement from Colin Davidson, President of the Royal Ulster Academy 

"The Royal Ulster Academy's schools programme attracts large numbers of school children from across Northern Ireland.

"In this context, the painting 'The Kiss', by Paul Walls, was regarded as inappropriate for child audiences (by the Museum, the Academy, and Child Protection lawyers, as well as most who have seen it). Paul Walls appreciates how inappropriate it is for child audiences. It would not matter if the imagery was of two women, two men, or a man and a woman. Mindful of artistic freedom of expression, the RUA and the Ulster Museum considered that the painting could remain in the exhibition subject to the placement of appropriate notices that the gallery contained artwork which could be regarded as being of an adult nature.

"As an Academy, we are concerned that this could deter schools and families with young children visiting the exhibition. As a result Paul Walls decided to withdraw the painting from the exhibition. Censorship had nothing to do with it."

I am sure that Colin would be happy to hear from you ( - but be aware that the reasons given for not including the picture have not been represented well in coverage.

Therefore the piece I wrote yesterday was based on inaccurate and incomplete information from the Belfast Telegraph and  I would like to apologise for any offense that may have been caused from my comments.

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