Gay Melbourne artist Paul Yore has said he’s “devastated” a provocative artwork has been misinterpreted and pulled from an exhibition in Wales.
Yore entered his artwork Taste The Feeling in a competition at Mostyn Gallery in North Wales. The gallery selected it from hundreds of submissions as a finalist.
But visitors complained the artwork (pictured below) “spewed homophobic hatred” and breached hate crime laws, involving the police, the North Wales Daily Post reported.
The 30-year-old artist said in a statement the work is, in fact, an attack on homophobia and had been misconstrued.
“My work is very personal, explicitly addressing homophobia from my own perspective growing up queer in a deeply Catholic household,” he said.
“The use of homophobic language in the work is a deliberate and reflexive strategy for working through my own experiences of such homophobic abuse and violence.
“My work also mirrors the current socio-political moment: debased, divided and driven by fear and greed.
“Therefore, I see my work as a tool for stimulating thought and discussion. [Sometimes] this involves challenging preconceived notions of what art can be about.”
Yore said the artwork, a mixed-media hand-sewn textile quilt, had taken him several months to create.
“Art experts … selected the work from hundreds of entries, based on its quality, value and unique queer perspective,” he said.
“It’s incumbent on the gallery to keep the work on display, to explain and contextualise their selection, even if some find it challenging.”
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He said as a queer artist, visibility and dialogue are “imperative to survival”.
“It is deeply traumatic to have the work, and therefore my voice, silenced in this way,” Yore said.
‘Not all queer people share the same views’
A spokesperson for the gallery said they had removed the artwork “pending further advice and discussion with relevant parties.”
But Paul Yore said he had shown the artwork before and had received nothing but positive feedback. The “complaints and censorship” had caught him by surprise, he said.
He suggested the gallery install a placard next to the artwork explaining its meaning and context.
“As a gay person myself, the last thing I would wish is to offend any member of any minority community.
“However, it’s important to acknowledge that not all LGBTIQA+ people share the same views.”
Paul Yore has a studio in Melbourne, and has previously attracted controversy with his artworks.
In 2013, police charged Yore with producing and possessing child pornography over an installation he created and exhibited in Melbourne.
Titled Everything Is F—ed, the artwork featured children’s faces superimposed on images of adult male bodies performing sex acts. A magistrate dismissed the charges in 2014.
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