Exhibition showing Rajoy, Barcenas and the Infanta Cristina with excrement on their heads ‘censored’
AN ART exhibition has been banned by Salamanca city council for featuring politicians and Royals with excrement on their heads.
Painter Ausín Sáinz, from the neighbouring province of Burgos, said the PP-led city council pulled the plug on his display the day before it was due to open on the grounds that it was ‘unsuitable for children’ and that he was ‘made to feel like a criminal’.
Pictures of Spanish president Mariano Rajoy dancingforehead-to-forehead with ex-treasurer of the PP Luis Bárcenas, with a potato between them and faeces on their heads, and the Infanta Cristina, daughter of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía – whose husband Iñaki Urdangarín is facing fraud and tax evasion charges – wearing a ‘crown’ made out of excrement and jewels, were part of the exhibition titled No apta para todos los públicos (‘not suitable for everyone’s viewing’).
The city council, run by the PP in a majority local government, had accused Sáinz of ‘keeping the contents of the exhibition secret’ until the last minute, and ‘deceiving them’,
which Sáinz denies because he had already hung up the paintings four days before the Julián Sánchez ‘El Charro’ centre was due to open and had displayed them on his blog and Facebook site weeks beforehand, as well as inviting hundreds of people to attend the exhibition.
Sáinz says he is a ‘critical artist’ by genre, meaning his works have always been aimed at public condemnation of unpopular aspects of current affairs and society – his previous exhibition in a different arts centre in Salamanca, titled Viva España, covered issues such as building development speculation and domestic violence.
The painter says the centre’s manager Lorenzo Bernáldez Villarroel ‘knows nothing about modern art’ and is ‘a liar’ because they had not agreed anything at all relating to the content of the exhibition.
“They just offered me the use of the centre to show my works, and I even had to put them all up myself using my own tools,” Sáinz complains.
He says the police turned up, demanded to see his ID and refused to let him leave the hall until council workers had taken down all the pictures, which they ‘dumped in the street on top of cardboard boxes in the rain’, where they remained until Sáinz was released and able to fetch his car to collect them.
As for being told they were ‘unsuitable for children’ who may see them, Sáinz said lots of youngsters had already viewed his pictures and that they thought an image of a politician ‘with a poo on his head’ was ‘funny’.“I suspect it’s been censored because it is a criticism of the financial crisis and corruption affecting this country,” Sáinz stated.
He says he has decided not to take any legal action because it would be ‘like David trying to fight Goliath’ and he would not get anywhere.
But he will do so if the city council sends him the bill for their staff taking down the pictures, he reveals.
“Unfortunately, all this is what is happening in my country,” the artist lamented.
Sáinz says the painting of Rajoy and Bárcenas was about the ‘gaffe’ made by the former – the colloquial word for which in Spanish, cagada, is a direct world-play on excrement – in ‘protecting’ Bárcenas and that they are ‘dancinguntil they see who fails first and makes the potato fall’, whilst the picture of the Infanta Cristina is said to ask the question, ‘why does she want even more money with all that she has already?’
Other works criticise the so-called ‘gagging law’ planned by the PP government, which will fine demonstrators massive amounts of money for staging protests without written permission, and the closure of four Coca-Cola factories, leaving 750 out of a job and a further 500 forced to relocate.
This is not the first time politically-themed art exhibitions have been censored in Spain in recent years.
A museum in Valencia was forced to withdraw an exhibition in 2010 featuring photos from the year before which seemed to link the then regional president, Francisco Camps (PP) with the infamous Gürtel corruption racket.
Last year, the mayoress of a town in the province of Ávila ordered a picture featuring Luis Bárcenas to be removed from a public exhibition.
And Madrid’s mayoress Ana Botella, seeing that her portrait was featured in a display titled Paletos (roughly translated as ‘village idiots’), ordered it to be withdrawn.
But once Botella realised that hers was one of many faces shown, including those of Rajoy and Cardinal Rouco Varela – currently under fire for publicly stating that ‘homosexuals can and should be cured’ – the mayoress requested her picture be put back up.