France: Art installation defaced by Turkish MP assistant

18 October 2016

A 1,000-photo-collage art installation at the Council of Europe (CoE) headquarters in Strasbourg, France, was defaced by the parliamentary assistant of a Turkish member of the Assembly when they sliced off the “edited and toned down” version of the infamous Danish Prophet Muhammad cartoon, reported The Malta Independent on 14 October 2016.

Norbert Francis Attard, the Maltese artist and creator of the collage, told The Malta Independent:

The art installation is made up of eight panels with a collage of over a thousand photos that are related to various human rights, including the right to freedom of speech and expression. I was shocked to learn that my work had been censored at the Council of Europe – the headquarters of human rights – of all places. I never expected such a thing to happen. I obviously knew the history behind it [the image] so what I did was I covered the prophet’s face with a banner with the word ‘censored’ written over it. I did this so that it would not offend anyone.

The head of the Turkish delegation at the CoE apologised for the incident. The art installation was unveiled on 10 October 2016 to mark Malta’s 50th anniversary signing of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly has sent a proposal to Attard to resolve the matter to his satisfaction.

Photo: Artist’s Facebook page


» Malta Ministry for Foreign Affairs press release – 14 October 2016:
Incident concerning the exhibition by Maltese artist Norbert Attard at the Council of Europe

» The Malta Independent – 14 October 2016:
‘Turkish MP’s assistant defaced Maltese artwork which depicted Prophet Muhammad’ – CoE source

» The Malta Independent – 13 October 2016:
Depiction of the Prophet Muhammad ripped out of Maltese art installation in Strasbourg

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