Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness ‘kissing’ image raises censorship claim

Omagh Council rejects allegation that ‘information’ notice would not apply if picture was of man and woman

Artist Stuart Cannell has alleged censorship following the council decision

Artist Stuart Cannell has alleged censorship following the council decision

Fri, Aug 15, 2014, 01:00

Omagh District Council has defended putting an “information notice” outside an art exhibition which features a picture of First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness kissing.

A spokeswoman for the council rejected a claim by artist Stuart Cannell that it was engaging in a “form of censorship” by placing a notice at the entrance to the exhibition at the Strule Arts Centre in Omagh, Co Tyrone.

The sign outside the Images of Ulster display reads: “This exhibition contains some artwork containing violent or sexual images.”

The council spokeswoman said the notice was an “information” rather than a “warning” sign and in relation to the “violent” reference related to a separate piece which contained an image of violence.

Mr Cannell told BBC Radio Foyle that he believed the sign was discriminatory against gay people, and that it would not have been put up if the couple in the image had been a man and a woman.

“I . . . didn’t feel it was ever going to warrant a sign of censorship,” he said. “It’s not illegal, it’s a kiss . . . It’s more what the kiss represents than the act,” added Mr Cannell.

The council said the sign informs patrons that it is left to the viewer to make his/her own decision.