‘Censorship’ says artist as council bans his work

Reporter:

Garth ApThomas

A PICTURE depicting David Cameron and Nick Clegg as cowboys exposing their genitals has been banned by Wrexham Council.

The authority says the work, set to be featured in an exhibition at council-run gallery Oriel Wrecsam, is too political to display in the run up to the Welsh Assembly elections.

But the artist who created Brokeback Britain, Brian Jones, said the banning order amounted to censorship.

Mr Jones, who is based in Mid Wales, originally submitted five pieces to be considered for the Wrexham Print International exhibition.

Two of them were accepted - Eyeless On Gaza and Brokeback Britain.

Mr Jones then attended the opening evening expecting to see both his works on display.

But Brokeback Britain was nowhere to be found.

Mr Jones said: “I made inquiries and was told a council official had decided it was not going to be exhibited.

“I feel hugely disappointed – this is censorship.

“Brokeback Britain had been chosen for the exhibition by an independent selector, framed, and included in the catalogue.

“I have not been told the reason for it being banned. Until I started asking questions I was not informed by anybody at the opening that the piece had been excluded.”

Mr Jones said his motivation for the collage print was to create a lampoon, drawing on two influences.

One was an iconic image from Finnish artist Touko Laaksonen and the other was the 2005 film Brokeback Mountain, which charts the relationship between two cowboys.

He said: “I had heard of the Liberal Democrat/Conservative alliance being called the Brokeback Coalition and my idea grew from that. There is humour in this piece. It is a satire – I am apolitical.”

He added: “Brokeback Britain has been through the proper selection process for the exhibition. To have that taken away from me is really bad.”

In response to the complaint chief leisure, libraries and culture officer Alan Watkin said: “In the run up to an election the authority has to follow strict guidance issued by central government.

“As the work of art in question was a satire on two political parties contesting the Assembly elections it would be inappropriate for it to feature in the show.”

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