Story By: Ana Marjanovic, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
The National Art Gallery of Malaysia has reportedly removed artwork from an ongoing exhibition sparking outrage among artists and collectors in the region.
Malaysian artist Ahmad Fuad Osman’s exhibition ‘At the End of the Day, Even Art Is Not Important (1990-2019)’ is showing at the National Art Gallery in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur until 29th February, according to local media.
Four pieces have been suddenly removed from the exhibition after initially being included and Fuad Osman has expressed his dismay at the decision.
In an open letter on his Facebook page, the artist said: “On 7th February, I wrote to them stating that this act of censorship is deeply troubling and unacceptable.
“It is arbitrary, unjustified and an abuse of institutional power. I asked them to fully explain their decision, requesting answers to my questions about their process and reasoning.
“Their decision and explanation lacked transparency and accountability.”
He also said that all his exhibition works had been previously approved by the museum.
Fuad Osman claimed that the museum told him they removed the works because “a board member complained about them”.
Following his open letter, a group of Malaysian artists have reportedly written to the 13 members of Malaysia’s National Visual Arts Development Board to demand that the artworks are reinstated while also asking for the board member to be named.
Lawyer and prominent art collector Pakhruddin Sulaiman told local media: “I have requested that the National Art Gallery stops exhibiting the five other works that belong to me. I don’t want them involved in an exhibition that has been compromised (by censorship).”
The National Art Gallery has yet to respond to the open letter, but defended its move to remove the works, saying it was well within its right to do so.
They called the exhibition a “continuous process and not a final product.”
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