Anger as art gallery shows sculpture of suicide bomber girl
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 10:12 AM on 23rd July 2009
An art gallery has provoked controversy by displaying a doll of a child dressed as a suicide bomber in its front window less than a mile from where hate preacher Abu Hamza used to whip up Islamic fanatics.
The 3ft model at Gallery 90 in Finsbury Park, North London, shows an eight-year-old girl clad in a black balaclava and wired up to grenades and bombs.
Artist Mason Storm admits that his piece, titled Little Terror, is meant to make people angry – though he claims the point is to protest against the exploitation of children.
He said: ‘The reason I created the piece Little Terror was to get a reaction from some of the narrow-minded locals who have been moaning over certain pieces in the gallery.
‘If you find this piece offensive, have a collection, raise £1000 and donate it to a charity that helps children who have been damaged by war or made to fight wars. When you have done that I will happily destroy the piece.’
He added: ‘It’s time for “outraged of Islington” to put up or shut up.’
Residents said they were concerned about the impact of the mock suicide bomber on people who lost friends and relatives in the devastating Tube and bus bombings of July 7, 2005.
Amy Murphy, 25, said she found the piece ‘totally offensive’.
She said: ‘I was walking past the gallery and I had to do a double-take. A little girl dressed up as a suicide bomber was staring back at me and I just thought “how insensitive”.
‘People around here were deeply affected by the 7/7 attacks and I hate to think what a relative of someone who died would think of this.
‘It is not though-provoking art and it doesn’t have any high-minded purpose. It’s there to shock at the sake of the many who died at the hands of terror. It should be removed.’
Roger Wright, of Highbury Community Association, said: ‘Some people have relatives who were killed or injured in the London bombings.
‘Others were caught in the tunnels. People in the area have quite strong memories of those days. So this might upset them.’
Demetri Patsalou, owner of nearby JNF Haircutters in Mountgrove Road, said: ‘It’s obviously a bit weird but that’s art for you.’
The gallery in Mountgrove Road is less than a mile from Finsbury Park mosque, where Abu Hamza preached before he was jailed for inciting murder and racial hatred in 2006.
Mosque trustee Mohammed Kozbar said: ‘If the artist wanted to address the issue of child victims of war, he could have used an image of a starving child from Africa.
‘This image is provocative and it is offensive. It portrays children as perpetrators when they are really innocent victims. That will offend all communities.’
Sadia Moh, of the Arab Advice Bureau in Finsbury Park, said: ‘Since 9/11, Muslims feel they are being stereotyped as terrorists. Some people will see this and think they are being targeted again.’
But she conceded that ‘other Muslims would agree that the issue of child suicide bombers needs to be talked about’, adding: ‘Personally, I would agree with the artwork because it highlights that there is a problem.’
Michelle McEvoy, who runs the gallery, defended the piece.
She said: ‘We have had a few people not happy about Little Terror. But when we gave them the artist’s note, they came around.
‘We are not promoting suicide bombing. And the child is of any particular ethnicity – she is as white as we could find, deliberately so. It’s a protest against child exploitation.’