Complaints over 'Repeal the 8th' art in Temple Bar

The 'Repeal the 8th' mural by street artist Maser. Picture: .Joyce Fegan

The Project Arts Centre in Dublin's Temple Bar has received complaints about a 'Repeal the 8th' mural on the front wall of its premises.

The Project Arts Centre in Dublin's Temple Bar has received complaints about a 'Repeal the 8th' mural on the front wall of its premises.

The mural, by well-known street artist Maser, is in reference to abortion and repealing the Eight Amendment of the Irish Constitution. The 1983 constitutional amendment acknowledges the right to life of the unborn, equating it with the mother’s right to life.

Maser's mural was commissioned by HunReal Issues, a new Irish website, aimed at making current affairs accessible to all. The mural was unveiled on July 8.

"We asked Maser to do a shareable graphic to put up on Facebook. He's very generous so he then said: 'if you find me a wall I'll paint it on the wall'," said Andrea Horan, who founded HunReal Issues alongside Snapchat star James Kavanagh.

"I started thinking about possible walls and places that would be open to being brave. I got on to Cian O'Brien (artistic director of the Project Arts Centre). I know they like to push boundaries with artists and their work. So this conversation-starting mural was something he was interested in," she added.

However, the Project Arts Centre began receiving complaints about the mural, since its unveiling 12 days ago.

"The complaints were about the content of the work and from people who felt we were using tax payers money inappropriately, but we didn't use any taxpayers money. 

"Maser paid for all the art supplies himself and we are a private organisation limited by guarantee that's in receipt of State funding as well as private funding.

"There were no complaints from official bodies, they were from members of the public," Mr O'Brien told the Irish Examiner.

He explained his board stood by the decision to place the mural on the building and the artwork was in line with the centre's ethos.

"We follow the principle enshrined in the Arts Act 2003, of curatorial independence. I figured we would get some complaints.

"It's an important issue that needs to be talked about, that's what art should do, the idea that art should be neutral, I don't agree with that," Mr O'Brien said.

Ms Horan also said that she wanted to start a conversation, through the mural, and make people feel comfortable discussing abortion, regardless of their position on the issue.

"I wanted to make feminism accessible, where you didn't have to be academic to engage.

"With HunReal, we wanted to open the issues up to people who aren't necessarily engaged in politics and currents affairs and to make something they wanted to engage in," she said.

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