Reinstall An English Garden by Gabriella Hirst
On 23 June 2021 the organisation Metal took the decision to take down an artwork from Gunners Park in Shoeburyness called An English Garden by Gabriella Hirst. The work had been commissioned for the acclaimed Estuary 2021 festival by Metal and the artists charity The Old Waterworks. It was installed after having gone through all the correct governance procedures. The work had permission to remain in place until 31 August.
Metal were subjected to intense pressure from a few local Councillors who had taken a dislike to the work, eventually issuing a demand to remove it, and a threat that otherwise they would ‘take action’ against the work. Metal took the decision to remove the work to protect the wellbeing and mental health of their small team of staff.
Metal stated 'We absolutely stand with Gabriella and the content of her thoughtful, well-researched, beautiful work and the contemplative space that she brought to the duration of Estuary 2021. The work was in situ for 5 weeks, with many visitors and good engagement, and not one complaint from the public audience, residents or regular users of the park.'
The story has been covered in the national and local press,
radio, television and on social media, and has attracted widespread
condemnation. The unauthorised actions of these councillors and
their effective censorship of the work has significantly damaged
Southend's reputation as a forward looking and vibrant town which
champions culture and the arts. Southend Council needs to take
immediate strong affirmative action to put this matter to rights
and demonstrate its commitment to freedom of artistic expression.
It should give visitors and residents the opportunity to
permanently enjoy and engage with An English Garden, issue an
official statement censuring the councillors actions, and above all
ensure that nothing like this ever happens again.
Started by: Mick Ekers
This ePetition ran from 04/08/2021 to 03/10/2021 and has now finished.
102 people signed this ePetition.