Belfast Telegraph

Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness in 'gay kiss' pop art print: Warning sign placed at exhibition in Omagh

Mock-up image of First Ministers kissing

By John Mulgrew

A 'warning sign' has been placed at an art exhibition in Omagh which features a pop-art inspired mock-up image of Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness kissing.

The piece by artist Stuart Cannell shows a mock-up image of the First and Deputy First Ministers engaged in a kiss.

It's on show at the Strule Arts Centre in Omagh.

But a 'warning sign' has now be erected on the way in to the 'Images of Ulster' exhibition.

It reads: "Some of the images in this section contain scenes of an adult nature and are not recommended for views under 18 years".

It's prompted the artist to accuse the venue of discrimination.

He said he did not think the same warning would have been used if the image had featured a man and woman.

"I was quite shocked to be honest," Stuart Cannell told the BBC.

"I created the piece and I didn't feel it was ever going to warrant a sign of censorship.

"It's not illegal - it's a kiss. I feel the artwork has more to do with peace and reconciliation than sexuality.

"It's more what the kiss represents than the act."

In response, Omagh District Council said the Strule Arts Centre had a "policy to inform audiences, whether of a performance, event or exhibition, which contains offensive language, sexual content, violence or political/religious references".

"Feedback from customers of Strule Arts Centre was that patrons should be informed before attending so that they could make a judgement whether they wish to proceed," it said.

"The sign at the entrance to the exhibition informs patrons that some artwork depicts violent or sexual images and it is left to the viewer to make their own decision.

"In relation to a similar sign being placed close to an image of a heterosexual act of kissing, the decision would be taken on a case by case basis in view of how the image is portrayed."

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