- 23 Apr 18
The removal of the Maser Repeal the 8th mural at the Project Arts Centre is being described as an "affront to democracy and freedom of expression".
The comment was made by Labour Party spokesperson on Community Arts, Councillor Rebecca Moynihan.
Councillor Moynihan said: “The news today that the Maser Repeal the 8th mural is to be painted over on Monday due to pressure from the Charities Regulator is disappointing.
“The Project Arts Centre has always been a political space for those involved in the arts sphere. For the Charities Regulator to threaten their charitable status over a hugely popular mural is an affront to democracy.
“Will the Charities Regulator plan to censor other arts organisations for political activity?
“Maser’s work around the city has provoked many over the years. His ‘U Are Alive’ artwork is celebrated and promoted. It is a shame that because this piece is slightly more political it is to be removed for the second time.
“This most recent attempt to silence debate and stifle momentum around Repeal the 8th will not work and I am fully supportive of the Project Arts Centre and of Maser. We cannot continue to paint over our problems.”
ARTS COMMUNITY SHOULD NOT BE AFRAID TO ADDRESS POLITICAL ISSUES
Ahead of tomorrow’s painting over of the Maser ‘Repeal the Eighth’ mural, Councillor, Rebecca Moynihan has questioned the legal basis for the removal of the mural.
This comes as the Charities Regulator informed the Project Arts Centre that they were in breach of the Charities Act 2009, and could be struck off the Charities Register.
Councillor Moynihan said: “The Charities Regulator should make clear on what legal basis they threatened to remove charitable status from the Project Arts Centre.
“While there are guidelines developed by the regulator for charities in relation to engaging in political activity outside of their remit, as an arts organisation the right to promote artistic work which addresses topical issues of the day and allows for freedom of expression is fundamental
“This is not the first time that the Project Arts Centre has used its iconic blue wall to play host to political art. A mural by artist Sums which was painted in support of marriage equality during the 2015 referendum and the Project Arts Centre’s charitable status was not threatened then.
“This bizarre decision will have a chill effect on arts organisations in future year who may be afraid to address political issues for fear of losing their charitable status. It is not the job of the Charities Regulator to decide what constitutes acceptable art and the Regulator must immediately outline what legal advice they sought before issuing this draconian threat to the Project Arts Centre."