Censorship Sparks Row Over McGuinness/Robinson ‘Kiss’ in Omagh Gallery

'The Kiss', by Stuart Cannell, which was featured at the Strule Arts Centre in Omagh. [Image: Stuart Cannell]

‘The Kiss’, by Stuart Cannell, which was featured at the Strule Arts Centre in Omagh. [Image: Stuart Cannell]

An artist in Northern Ireland has accused a gallery in Omagh, Co. Tyrone, of discrimination, after its management erected a sign outside his exhibition regarding artwork of a kiss between two men.

Stuart Cannell, an artist based in Belfast, had his artwork featured in the Images of Ulster exhibition at the Strule Arts Centre in Omagh. Among his pieces of work was a pop-art style portrait of both Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson in a kiss. However, the Strule Arts Centre erected a notice outside the exhibition, stating:

Please note this exhibition contains some artwork depicting violent or sexual images.

Furthermore, the Centre also erected a more specific sign regarding the politically-themed portrait:

Some of the images in this section contain scenes of an adult nature and are not recommended for viewers under 18 years.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Cannell said that “[i]f this was a man and woman kissing, there wouldn’t have been an issue”. The Belfast-based artist also explained that there was “nothing sexual” about the political artwork, but said that “what the kiss represents” is important.

Omagh District Council also commented on the controversy, explaining that they have posted similar notices for art exhibitions. When asked if similar actions would be taken, had a heterosexual kiss been featured, the Council stated that decisions are made on a “case by case” basis.

About Scott De Buitléir

Scott De Buitléir is an author and poet from Dublin, Ireland. He is founder of EILE Magazine, a digital publication for the Irish LGBT community, and has published several works of poetry, non-fiction, and fiction. He lives in Cork with his partner.
%d bloggers like this: