On my first blog post I mentioned how some people have called my work too explicit, some have gone as far to call it pornographic. You may have watched my 2015 show reel video on my home page but I thought I’d share this story in greater detail.
In February 2015, I had my art stripped from the walls of a public library in Mississauga. My paintings were hung on the third floor, the Arts and History section—a floor filed with books on the Renaissance, images of Michelangelo’s David, pictures on classical art filled with nudity and books on war, murder and terror. This floor is far from the basement’s Children’s floor. On the very first day the artwork was on display, there were complaints that the images were too explicit and were offending the patrons. I was told by the librarian to take down any paintings where “it looked like something was about to happen.” For example, my “Kiss” painting was taken down along with “Candy” and “Allurement.” Really? Are these explicit? Out of the 13 paintings that were put up, a total of 11 were taken down.
I shared this story over on my Facebook page at the time it happened and received all sorts of comments ranging from positive to negative. Some called my work as pornography, saying that it’s raunchy and is not classy or appropriate for a public library. There were also many positive comments including parents explaining to me they were comfortable sharing my work with their children—some even watched my show reel with their children. A debate sparked on my Facebook page on what can be defined as controversial art and whether or not children should be exposed to my artwork.
I stated it clearly then and I’ll state it again, what I painted is only natural and beautiful. Our bodies are gorgeous, they are a work of art in itself and we should not be ashamed of them. I was only expressing myself with these paintings and was looking forward to displaying what I was working on for weeks. Although I was disappointed to have them taken down, I was also amazed that my artwork raised such a large discussion and that people were so offended by my art that they asked to take it down. It’s rewarding to have my art evoke such a strong reaction, whether positive or negative. I believe that any good artwork is one that can strike up a debate and questioning and evoke an emotion. As an artist, I believe I have done my job.