Artists at war over gift to Government

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The Independent Culture

Two darlings of modern British art have become embroiled in a war of words over a gift to the Government and the thorny issue of tuition fees.

There is no love lost between Tracey Emin and Dinos Chapman, both former Royal College of Art students and Turner Prize nominees, when it comes to how friendly you should be with politicians.

Their spat began last month when Chapman reacted to Emin donating a piece of her work to the Government's art collection.

He reportedly slammed his fellow artist. "Tracey would never have got where she is today if she hadn't received grants and support through college," he said. "I don't understand how she can support these people. She has forgotten where she came from and you should never forget where you come from."

Emin, the creator of the installation Everyone I Have Ever Slept With, has now taken to the correction website, ICorrect, to hit back at Chapman's rant, saying she was "deeply upset". She insisted the donated neon work was something for the nation rather than the Government.

She said: "The Government collection is for everyone and regardless of who is in power at any time the collection can be enjoyed by everybody for future generations... My donation is not solely to David Cameron and 10 Downing Street, as pompous as it sounds it is actually to the nation."

Chapman works with his brother Jake and the pair are known for their unflinching style.

The siblings are strongly opposed to the hike in university tuition fees, and spearheaded a scheme where a group of artists, actors and designers would pay legal costs for students caught up in protests against the rise.

In her statement, Emin said she had raised her concerns about the increased cost of a university education with politicians including the Prime Minister.

She said: "I was lucky enough to not only receive grants and tuition fees but I also received bursaries and awards which made my time as a student possible. I recently spoke at the Oxford union where I expressed my concerns and I gave examples to the students of how they could fight against these cuts that did not involve violence or taking to the streets.

"The education I received was the greatest opportunity of my life and that is something I will never forget regardless of what Dinos Chapman believes. And it would not have hurt him to have checked with me first before he started inciting hatred."