June 14, 2021

The Fourthny

Art is beauty

Photography festival billboards taken down after complaints about ‘horrible’ pictures

3 min read
Photography festival billboards taken down after complaints about 'horrible' pictures


a bicycle parked in front of a building: Shearer's work on billboards along the Arbutus Greenway were taken down about 48 hours after they were put up, following several complaints from the public.


© Steven Shearer, Untitled, 2020, courtesy of the artist. Picture by Dennis Ha.
Shearer’s function on billboards along the Arbutus Greenway were taken down about 48 hrs right after they had been put up, adhering to many issues from the public.

A collection of billboards with pictures commissioned by Vancouver’s Seize Images Competition have been taken down soon after some persons complained they had been disturbing. 

The seven photographs by internationally renowned artist Steven Shearer confirmed people sleeping or resting and have been posted along the Arbutus Greenway, a preferred going for walks and biking route on the city’s West Aspect.

They had been posted on Tuesday and taken down 48 several hours later on, forward of the festival’s opening on Friday. 

The festival’s executive director, Emmy Lee Wall, says the incident has prompted crucial thoughts about the function of public art.

“How do we strike a balance concerning general public worry and building significant contemporary operate that pushes these boundaries for a large viewers?” Wall stated. 

‘Subversive and poignant commentary’

The illustrations or photos, section of an show called Untitled, came from Shearer’s personal archive.

The artist, who not often reveals in Vancouver, collects illustrations or photos uncovered on the internet, on eBay and in print. They are meant to attract from poses found in spiritual paintings and sculpture. 

In accordance to the festival’s description of the exhibit, “Shearer presents a subversive and poignant commentary on the approaches in which so many banal moments of our life in modern day culture are manufactured obtainable for public consumption.” 

Wall says the problems began coming in as soon as the show went up, which include a handful of strongly worded comments. 

“I genuinely think that some men and women were being quite disturbed,” she claimed. “They reported that the pictures were being terrible, they were terrible, that they built them want to vomit.”

The competition did acquire time to respond to each and every specific complaint, Wall states, and she even named a couple of people today to talk about the function. 

Shots of men and women in ‘vulnerable state’

Getting the billboards down was eventually the conclusion of Pattison Out of doors Promoting, Wall claimed.

The company has partnered with the festival on exhibiting photos together the Arbutus Greenway for the past eight a long time and has been a incredible supporter, she extra. But the issues have been too a lot for Pattison to disregard. 

Wall suspects that people today may well have uncovered the pictures disturbing since they were not standard stylized photos of smiling individuals. 

“I consider sort of viewing individuals pictured in this actually organic, vulnerable condition exactly where they weren’t created up was problematic for folks,” she stated. 

Inspite of the controversy, Wall suggests she would do it all again. 

“Steven’s venture has done exactly what it supposed, which is to kind of start off conversations about the divide between community and personal room,” she claimed.  

“So in a odd way, the billboards had been exceptionally effective, even even though they were being only up for 48 several hours.”  

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