Hong Kong’s oldest museum is being accused of censorship over the removal of a controversial exhibit of Chinese political leaders.
Local artist Otto Li said the University Museum and Art Gallery removed his head sculptures, Apple Daily reported Tuesday.
Earlier, Li said he had received a notice from mainland authorities that the timing of his exhibit “was not proper”.
Ho Hing-kay, a professor in the Chinese University of Hong Kong and former exhibition director of the Hong Kong Arts Center, called the museum’s decision “ugly”, saying art censorship is a “serious moral issue”.
Democratic Party legislator James To also accused the museum of censorship, calling the move “ridiculous”.
The 3D-printed sculptures depict Chinese President Xi Jinping, Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, Macau Chief Executive Fernando Chui and Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou.
They are distinguished from one another by the fineness of the finishing touches, depending on the number of votes they received when they were elected.
A cruder finish means fewer votes.
Ma’s bust has the finest finish while Chui’s has a rough edge to it. The Taiwan leader was reelected in 2012 with 6.8 million votes. Chui received 380 votes from an election panel.
Museum director Florian Knothe denied organizers removed the exhibit, saying Li made the decision to withdraw.
Li applied to organizers of the mobile show in May when it was held in Taiwan and got a positive response, the report said.
However, when the exhibit moved to Hong Kong in November, Li said he was pressed by the local organizers for more details about his work.
Museum officials denied Li’s repeated requests for consideration, the report said.
University Museum and Art Gallery was established in 1953 and is housed in a 1930s three-story building at the mouth of the University of Hong Kong.
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