Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

How many complaints were made about Orange Order Ku Klux Klansmen painting?

By David Young

Published 10/11/2015

A close-up of 'Christian Flautists Outside St Patrick’s' by Joe McWilliams from the RUA.
A close-up of 'Christian Flautists Outside St Patrick’s' by Joe McWilliams from the RUA.
'Christian Flautists Outside St Patrick’s' by Joe McWilliams from the RUA.
Members of the Young Conway Volunteers play the Famine Song outside St Patrick’s Church
Police officers attempt to stop fighting between loyalist and nationalist groups outside outside St Patrick's Roman Catholic Church in Belfast 2012 (AP)
Scenes from outside St Patrick's Church Donegall Street, Belfast July 2012
Scenes from outside St Patrick's Church Donegall Street, Belfast July 2012
Royal Black Preceptory parade through Belfast City Centre. The annual parade, which was being held in the centre of Belfast for the first time, had restrictions placed upon it by the Parades Commission. No music was allowed to be played when passing St Patricks Church on Donegall street. Trouble flares during the parade at St Patrick's Church when nationalist residents clashed with loyalist supporters.
Scenes from outside St Patrick's Church Donegall Street, Belfast July 2012
Nationalist residents holding a protest opposite St Patrick's Church
Scenes from outside St Patrick's Church Donegall Street, Belfast July 2012
A loyalist band marches past St Patrick's Church.
Shankill YCV flute band walks past St Patrick's Church
Trouble flares during the parade at St Patrick's Church
Royal Black Preceptory parade through Belfast City Centre
A police officer is injured as loyalists and nationalists clash outside St.Patricks Church Donegall Street
Scenes from outside St Patrick's Church Donegall Street, Belfast July 2012
Scenes from outside St Patrick's Church Donegall Street, Belfast July 2012
Scenes from outside St Patrick's Church Donegall Street, Belfast July 2012
Winston Irvine outside St.Patricks Church Donegall Street
Trouble flares during the parade at St Patrick's Church
Children pictured in the Shankill estate before the parade forms up
A police man announces the Parades Commission's restrictions as the parade goes past St Patrick's Church
Artist Joseph McWilliams
Joe McWilliams at work in his north Belfast studio
The picture at the Ulster Museum which has caused offence

More than 4,000 people have visited the Ulster Museum since the furore erupted over a painting depicting Orangemen as hooded Ku Klux Klansmen - but only six people have complained, the Belfast Telegraph has learned.

The news comes after the chief executive and staff from National Museums Northern Ireland (NMNI) met senior DUP figures at Stormont yesterday.

The controversial painting - Christian Flautists Outside St Patrick's, by Joseph McWilliams - forms part of a Royal Ulster Academy (RUA) exhibition being hosted in the Ulster Museum in south Belfast. Warning signs have now been erected at all three entrances to the exhibition.

It was the last painting Mr McWilliams completed before his death last month.

DUP Assembly member William Humphrey, who was at the meeting with NMNI, said afterwards that "from what was said it would appear that museum staff had not noticed this aspect of the painting until it was brought to their attention last week. While we did not reach a meeting of minds with the museum representatives, it was important that we set out clearly our strong concerns.

"This painting is on show in a general art display, not as part of a politically contentious exhibition.

"This cannot be viewed as an acceptable portrayal in a publicly-funded museum which prides itself on being a shared space."

A NMNI spokesperson said: "We have taken steps to acknowledge that some have found the painting offensive and, last week, we placed a sign at the entrances to the gallery."

To date six people have complained to NMNI about the exhibition, but the number of visitors has risen since the furore.

NMNI said more than 4,000 people visited the museum last Saturday and Sunday - a slightly higher figure than normal.

Members of the Young Conway Volunteers play the Famine Song outside St Patrick’s Church
Members of the Young Conway Volunteers play the Famine Song outside St Patrick’s Church
Police officers attempt to stop fighting between loyalist and nationalist groups outside outside St Patrick's Roman Catholic Church in Belfast 2012 (AP)
Scenes from outside St Patrick's Church Donegall Street, Belfast July 2012
Scenes from outside St Patrick's Church Donegall Street, Belfast July 2012
Royal Black Preceptory parade through Belfast City Centre. The annual parade, which was being held in the centre of Belfast for the first time, had restrictions placed upon it by the Parades Commission. No music was allowed to be played when passing St Patricks Church on Donegall street. Trouble flares during the parade at St Patrick's Church when nationalist residents clashed with loyalist supporters.
Scenes from outside St Patrick's Church Donegall Street, Belfast July 2012
Nationalist residents holding a protest opposite St Patrick's Church
Scenes from outside St Patrick's Church Donegall Street, Belfast July 2012
A loyalist band marches past St Patrick's Church.
Shankill YCV flute band walks past St Patrick's Church
Trouble flares during the parade at St Patrick's Church
Royal Black Preceptory parade through Belfast City Centre
A police officer is injured as loyalists and nationalists clash outside St.Patricks Church Donegall Street
Scenes from outside St Patrick's Church Donegall Street, Belfast July 2012
Scenes from outside St Patrick's Church Donegall Street, Belfast July 2012
Scenes from outside St Patrick's Church Donegall Street, Belfast July 2012
Winston Irvine outside St.Patricks Church Donegall Street
Trouble flares during the parade at St Patrick's Church
Children pictured in the Shankill estate before the parade forms up
A police man announces the Parades Commission's restrictions as the parade goes past St Patrick's Church
Artist Joseph McWilliams
Joe McWilliams at work in his north Belfast studio
The picture at the Ulster Museum which has caused offence

Belfast Telegraph

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph