10:33am Thursday 13th November 2008
By Tristan Kirk
A WATFORD arts organisation is making a stand against censorship as its latest exhibition opens in a local shopping centre.
Artwork from members of the Watford Area Arts Forum (WAAF) will go on show this weekend in the public gallery at the top of The Harlequin shopping centre.
Included in the exhibition will be a drawing by Cheryl Gould, one of the forum's members, whose recently was forced to take one of her pieces of work down from Harrow Arts Centre.
Harrow Council objected to the drawing, depicting a nude man, and decided it had to be removed from the exhibition to avoid offending religious members of the community and children.
Several artists have walked away from the arts centre, in Hatch End, and members of the WAAF have criticised Harrow Council's censorship of the paintings.
Grelle White, who sits on the forum's committee, said: “It is worrying that there could be censorship in this day and age.
“Life drawings are a classic art form and we have no problem with that.
“We don't want to hit out at Harrow Council, but we don't believe in censorship.”
Jonathan Hutchins, another artist whose life paintings were withdrawn from the Harrow exhibition, has been invited to show the censored artwork in the exhibition in The Harlequin, despite not being a member of the forum, as a show of solidarity.
The upper gallery in the shopping centre, where the exhibition is taking place from tomorrow until Sunday, November 23, is open to the public and artwork on show can be seen from outside the gallery.
Harrow Council has stood firm in its decision about the nude drawings and has faced an angry backlash from artists from across north west London and Hertfordshire, who have pointed out some of the most famous pieces of artwork, such as the statue of Eros, feature depictions of naked people, and they are displayed in public places.
The art forums in Wembley and Watford have backed the boycott of Harrow Arts Centre and some Harrow artists are now looking elsewhere to display their work, including exhibitions like the one opening today in The Harlequin.
The artwork will be on show during the shopping centre open hours and it is open to all.
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