London gallery censors exhibition over artist’s pro-Israel stance

A London gallery canceled an exhibition after an artist’s pro-Israel social media posts sparked controversy and complaints.

The exhibition would have featured censorship under Vladimir Putin. Ironically enough, it was itself censored because the gallery objected the social media posts by one of the artists mourning the victims of Hamas’ attack on October 7, reports The Jerusalem Post.

Metamorphika studio accused Jewish artist Maria Sarkisyants of neglecting the deaths of Palestinians. The exhibition, “Even Elephants Have Elections,” was open for one day before being cancelled.

“As a coalition of artists, founders, and more, we believe in the freedom of occupied Palestine,” the studio wrote. “And we ask our collaborators and artists to condemn oppression in its all [sic] geopolitical contexts without exemptions.”

“They said it was wrong that I support Israel,” said Sarkisyants, referring to the gallery. She added that she had offered to remove her name from the exhibition to keep it open, but the gallery owners had refused.

Maria expressed sympathy for Israel on social media on October 7, the day of Hamas’ attack. Maria, who holds Israeli citizenship, moved to Israel in 2022 and lived in Ashkelon, one of the coastal cities attacked by Hamas on October 7.

“Israel my beloved, we are here, we are here to support each other, all my thoughts are with the kidnapped,” she wrote in Russian, adding a prayer that they be returned home alive. A month later, she called for Israeli hostages in Gaza to be freed.

The posts were unacceptable to Metamorphika, the studio said, because Maria did not acknowledge the deaths of Palestinians. The gallery suggested that this made the politics of her exhibit, which “confronts the repressive state of Russia,” inconsistent: “We believe that this understanding of brutality and violence shouldn’t stop at one country’s borders.”