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Art Is Political – Free Expression Through Art Must Be Protected

An art gallery housing an anti-Israel exhibition in Tauranga has been told to remove any public facing art from its front windows by a real estate agent. This is in spite of other politically motivated exhibitions it has hosted in the past attracting no such prohibition. This is the type of unjustified limitation on the gallery’s freedom of expression that we must not tolerate in New Zealand, says Dr David Cumin, Council member of the Free Speech Union.

“The Israel/Palestine conflict is one of the most vexed political issues of our time. However, while some people may be offended by the art displayed on the window, we must continue to uphold the artists’ rights to freedom of expression.

“The conflict carries with it centuries of strong, even violent emotion. As a result, it is essential people are allowed to publicly express their feelings; especially through art. It allows those who hold these opinions to have an outlet for their political expression in a non-violent way.

“I strongly disagree with the messaging that was displayed and am deeply offended by the 'Zionists not welcome' sign. And we must ensure that we uphold the rights of freedom of expression for everyone in our community even if they espouse disinformation or bigotry."

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