Mayor forced to remove nude art from Facebook
NOTE: An image depicting a nude woman appears at the bottom of this story.
LISMORE mayor Jenny Dowell decided against deleting her popular Facebook account on principle, after being told her post depicting nude art was in breach of Facebook standards.
Ms Dowell uploaded a photo of artist Deborah Kelly and subject Simone O'Brien in front of a life-size nude portrait which depicted Simone's bowel cancer journey.
Simone's nude was embellished with gold thread, stitched from her sternum to pubic region, symbolising her bowel cancer scar in all its courage and beauty.
It was one of 20 life-size collage nudes in the No Human Being Is Illegal exhibition which is running at the Lismore Regional Gallery until April 2.
Facebook notified Cr Dowell that a 'friend' had reported the photo only minutes after she posted it.
Cr Dowell said, "I was upstairs and I looked at my phone and had received a message that it had been reported for breaches of Facebook standards and that they were to review it overnight. I saw the artist and told her - she was surprised too."
Left with the decision to take down the image or have her account closed, Cr Dowell chose to delete the offending image. Not , however, without unleashing her disapproval on the social networking platform:
"Sincere apologies to artist Deborah Kelly and her brave subject Simone. I'm sad to say that Facebook forced me to delete the photo of them standing in front of Deborah's work in her exhibition that opened last night at the Lismore Gallery.
The pic was reported and if I didn't remove it, my account would have been closed.
I've deleted the pic reluctantly as my use of FB is an important part of my civic role - and I've told FB that when I end my term of mayor I will close my account.
Frankly I'm angry and disgusted.
Cr Dowell said she was 'shocked' that the image had been reported.
Many of the mayor's Facebook friends, similarly outraged by the censorship, also shared the photo on Facebook. However, the shared images were also removed.
Despite the controversy, Lismore Regional Gallery is forging ahead with the exhibition, including a children's art tour.
Director Brett Adlington said the next interactive Peggy Popart tour, aimed at 'children of all ages', would go ahead on February 13, only with parental approval.
The plan is for Peggy Popart to guide parents through the nude exhibition first. Parents would have the right to decide the appropriateness of the show for their own children.
Mr Adlington said, he imagined there will be a lot of people going to view the exhibition.