Vandals attack London art gallery

<b>Burka with badges</b>: one of Maple's paintings which is hurting the sentiments of some Muslims

Burka with badges: one of Maple's paintings which is hurting the sentiments of some Muslims

The Independent has more on this story about Sarah Maple’s exhibition at the SaLon gallery.

Windows and doors were smashed after a series of abusive phone calls and emails, prompted by Maple’s artwork. The show is entitled “This Artist Blows”, and it contains self-portraits of the England-born Muslim, as well as several burka-themed paintings including the one showing a woman carrying a pig, and another with the burka-wearer bearing a badge which reads “I love orgasms”.

Earlier this week staff had to call the police because what appeared to be an angry woman came in to complain:

“She was in a full burqa and was irate and upset. Her behaviour was quite threatening,”

said a staff member. Though how they knew it was a woman was not explained.

Mokhtar Badri, the vice-president of the Muslim Association of Britain – the man who had tacitly encouraged such reactions (“she clearly wants to provoke a strong reaction from Muslims and that is what she will get”) – is now “doing an Ihsanoglu” and seeking to distance himself from the resultant violence:

I urged the gallery and the artist to respect the community in the area, but if Muslims see the work and dislike it, it is completely wrong to use any violent expression of that.

Bunglawala from the MCB, who did not have a hand in stirring up the thugs, sounds a little bit more credible:

People may well have strong views on the use of Islamic imagery in Sarah Maple’s exhibition. However, there can be no justification whatsoever for hooliganism of this sort or issuing threats.

UPDATE (31 Oct): What a surprise. She’s getting death threats.


13 Responses to “Vandals attack London art gallery”

  1. Tim says:

    Meanwhile, Mr Ross has just been suspended for 3 months for causing offence. Being offended crosses all cultures.

  2. Stuart says:

    And, Mr Bayer finally makes a comment on the week’s events

    http://www.chortle.co.uk/news/2008/10/31/7702/in_the_line_of_fire

    21 months after it was first broadcast!

  3. jr says:

    I was at the Musee du Monde Arabe in Paris yesterday. Round the corner from the grand Mosque, the bookshop stocks Salman Rushdie. No protests. We seem to have gone wrong somewhere in the UK. Unfortunately the government has (at least in the past) supported organisations like MAB which see provocation and divisiveness as legitimate tactics. In France they have a much bigger muslim demographic and while they do have conflict over religious symbolism etc the tone of the debate seems much more restrained than here.

  4. Alfster says:

    The Mock The week joke was rebroadcast this week so the Daily hate Mail was onto a winner what ever episode had been shown.

    Obvious and poor from the Mail.

    The Brand/Ross incident wasn’t really about bad language but about potentially breaking the law. Edgy comedy it wasn’t let’s leave that to Frankie.

  5. Andrew Nixon says:

    And that Mock The Week joke from the excellent Frankie Boyle is hardly the strongest thing he’s said on the show and compared to some of the stuff cut out is pretty mild.

    The Mail are clutching at straws, trying to start another scare story. Nine years ago it was the millennium bug, five years ago it was SARS, last year it was Bird Flu, earlier this year it was knife crime, in-between it’s usually been immigrants, now it’s “offensive” material on TV. They should report real news rather than report on non-existent scares.

  6. Who knows why, I am not surprised about these attacks, I would have been surprised if the usual violent imbeciles whom for ‘feeling to be Muslims’ need to show their small brains and alleged big muscles, would have spoiled this tasty occasion for gifting us with their anti-social behavior.
    Yet I have to admit that Miss Maple’s works (in particular the once full of sexual innuendo of very little artistic values) are not what I would call art.
    I know that other critics of art have expressed some doubts about her production. I wonder, indeed, how much the ‘muslim’ themes of her works may be a short-cut for an ‘easy’ success. But this is just my opinion.
    http://marranci.wordpress.com/2008/10/31/sarah-maple-loves-jihad/#more-141

  7. martyn says:

    Andrew, you missed out middle class blonde and pretty missing child maddie.

  8. Andrew Nixon says:

    Ah yes how could I forget Maddie and her parents who left three children under the age of four on their own but are still fantastic parents, even though if they were anything other than white middle-class Christians the Mail would be calling them scum.

    Getting a bit off topic there, rant over methinks.

  9. Mokhtar Badri says:

    The young artist Sarah Maple has showsen a controversial topic for her exhebition. She has the full right to portray herself in whatever appearance and to express her opinion free of any kind coersion or intimidation. We have no authority or intention to police artists works. However, we believe that we’ve all legitimate right to comment on her work once displayed in the public domain.
    I think Sarah was not considerate enough to use Islamic imagery mixed with signs that contradict Islamic values. When asked by the Telegraph to comment on her work we insisted that nobody has the right to limit her freedom but warned that her work is provocative.
    Whatever went beyond this meaning such us: ‘she will get strong reaction’ was a misquote by Mandrake. We wrote to the Telegraph asking them to correct the statement ‘in order to avoid misleading your readers’ but they did not publish it. Other media outlets such us the BBC reported exactly what we did say.
    I wish that your readers and bloggers will take this into consideration this clarification.
    Mokhtar Badri, Muslim Association of Britain

  10. Mokhtar Badri says:

    After the row is over, I hope that I can express my opinion and expect to be understood away from any kind of tension.
    The young artist Sarah Maple has chosen a controversial topic for her exhibition. She has the full right to portray herself in whatever appearance she likes. She has the right to express her opinion free of any kind of coercion or intimidation. We have no authority or intention to police artists’ works and we have never done that. However, we believe that we’ve all legitimate right to comment on her work once displayed in the public domain.
    I still think Sarah was not considerate enough to use Islamic imagery mixed with signs that contradict Islamic values. When asked by the Telegraph to comment on her work I insisted that nobody has the right to limit her freedom but warned that her work was provocative.
    the paper went on quoting that “MAB plans to visit the SaLon Gallery to demand that it remove Sarah Maple’s painting” and “She clearly wants to provoke a strong reaction from Muslims and that is what she will get”. These were misquotations by Mandrake. We wrote to the Telegraph asking them to correct the statement “in order to avoid misleading your readers” but they did not publish it. Other media outlets such us the BBC reported exactly what we did say.
    I wish that your readers and bloggers will take this into consideration.

    Mokhtar Badri, Muslim Association of Britain

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  12. RiskTrouble says:

    Here are two more inteviews with Sarah Maple if you want to check them out. They were conducted by Brian Sherwin who is the Senior Editor for the Myartspace Blog.

    http://www.myartspace.com/blog/2007/11/art-space-talk-sarah-maple.html

    http://www.myartspace.com/blog/2007/08/art-space-talk-sarah-maple.html

  13. I can not believe what I am reading here. As a contemporary artist myself I am in a state of shock. Surely the simple truth is that as an artist, any artist, no matter where from or belonging to a certain religion, has the right to express themselves in any which shape or form. I can understand political correctness, but this has nothing to do with it what so ever.