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Uruguay: Police asks gallery to remove nude painting of politician couple

2 November 2016

julio-de-sosa-genesis-uruguay
Julio de Sosa’s ‘Genesis’ painting portraying former Uruguayan presidential couple José Mujica and Lucía Topolansky as Adam and Eve, was taken off the walls from an exhibition at the Diana Saravia Art Gallery in downtown Montevideo on the command of police, reported El País de Uruguay on 20 October 2016. 

According to gallery owner Diana Saravia, two Montevideo police officers came to the gallery and asked her to remove the painting from public view. When Saravia questioned their reasons, the officers initially replied, “because the police are the authority”, but later told her that they “received several complaints about the painting”.

Topolansky told newspaper La Diaria on 20 October 2016 that “nobody gave authorization [to the artist] to do the painting”, describing the painting as “an insult in a frame”. She also said the painting is an act of “exhibitionism of her image without permission”, and that “people cannot recognize if she posed [for the painting] or not”, adding that the couple’s lawyers are building a slander lawsuit against the gallery and artist.

Mujica called the situation “sad”, and that “[the artist] has the right to earn a few pesos, but everything has to have a limit”.

Spokesman for the Supreme Court, Raúl Oxandabarat, confirmed there were complaints about the painting offending the public, but added that the judge discarded the case, stating the gallery and painter can exhibit the painting again if they so choose.

Julio de Sosa explained he never had the intention to offend the couple, but rather that the painting was a tribute to them, and that he based the artwork on his favourite painting, as well as the austerity and paternity that the couple represented to him. He said he was surprised by the international coverage of his painting, which has tripled in value since it was removed from the gallery.


Photo: Section of Julio de Sosa’s ‘Genesis’ painting


Sources

» CNN – 23 October 2016:
Bitter controversy for removal of naked painting of ex-presidential couple

» El Observador – 21 October 2016:
Pepe Mujica and wife in war against painting that portray them naked

» El País de Uruguay – 21 October 2016:
Police censors painting without judiciary order

» La Diaria – 20 October 2016:
Mujica and Topolansky denounce art work that exhibits them naked

» El Observador – 20 October 2016:
Mujica and Topolansky censor painting that portray them naked

» El Observador – 20 October 2016:
The Mujica case is just craziness

» Montevideo – 20 October 2016:
Mujica spoke about the painting he denounced

» El País de Uruguay – 20 October 2016:
They can earn a few pesos, but everything has a limit 

» Minuto Uno – 20 October 2016:
Police order to remove painting of Mujica and wife portrayed as Adam and Eve

» Galería Diana Saravia Facebook page – 19 October 2016:
Dark landscape for a dark day 


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