Art fan calls for removal of ‘offensive’ art from Rottingdean gallery


There have been calls to remove a work of art from a gallery amid claims it is “offensive” because it features the words “Covid is a scam”.

An oil painting on display at the Rottingdean Heritage Art Gallery depicts a man on Saltdean Beach with graffiti stating ‘Covid is a scam’ behind him.

The work was created by Saltdean portrait painter Jake Fern.

A disgruntled visitor to the gallery, who wished to remain anonymous, requests the removal of the work of art because of its “offensive” nature.

“Among some rather sympathetic local landscapes, an artist placed a painting with the words ‘Covid in a scam’ scrawled,” he said. “I don’t know if these are the artist’s opinions, but my wife and I found it quite upsetting.

“A friend of ours suffered serious problems from covid and I can assure anyone that this is not a scam.”

He added: “I hope we can remove this before it causes more upheaval.”

The work was created by portrait painter Jake Fern based in Saltdean.

Jake, who is a finalist in this year’s Worthing Portrait Artist of the Year competition, said no infractions were intended when creating the piece.

“Sorry that someone was offended. It’s a sensitive subject, to be sure, but the painting was just documenting graffiti that I saw locally, ”he said.

“While some may be offended by it, many also sympathize with this point of view and the opening date is still sound.”

Jake said he chose to portray this scene because of the contrasts between the beach huts and the graffiti.

“The fact that people use graffiti to get their point across tells me something,” he added.

“There is no real debate in the media and alternative views are ridiculed even though people have genuine concerns about how Covid has been treated and the global response, which to many seems overwhelmingly disproportionate. ”

The angry art fan said artistic opinions on the subject of Covid “should not be displayed in public places.”

“His paintings are very well executed, it’s just too bad he has to contaminate them with that.”

A spokeswoman for Rottingdean Heritage said no further complaints or adverse comments had been received about the artwork.

“While it may be unfortunate that a violation has been caused to a member of the public by a work exhibited in our gallery by an artist, we do not have a policy of censoring works that comply with the law,” she declared.

“The opinions expressed in any work of art exhibited are those of the artist.

“In this case, the work represents a neutral description of a scene that can be seen on many streets in the city, rather than an expression of opinion on Covid.”

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