Azerbaijan admits censorship at Biennale
The work of one of Azerbaijan's leading artists, at the centre of an embarrassing dispute at the prestigious Venice Art Biennale, has been removed from the festival after the country's President apparently intervened to say the works were distasteful.
Two of Aidan Salakhova's sculptures have been removed from the Azerbaijani Pavilion at the glamorous international art event in a move that has been criticised in the art world.
Sources in Venice said the decision to ban the works was taken by Azerbaijan's authoritarian President, Ilham Aliyev.
The two works in question are marble sculptures. One is a representation of the Black Stone of Mecca, an Islamic religious relic, in a vagina-shaped frame, while the other depicts a woman who is fully cloaked in a black veil.
Earlier, officials and curators at the pavilion had suggested that the sculptures were covered up because they had been damaged in transit. But yesterday the curator of the Azerbaijani Pavilion, Beral Madra, admitted the truth. "I was informed that the Ministry of Culture has found Salakhova's two sculptures [were] controversial to the prestige of the country," she said.
Ms Salakhova declined to comment yesterday, but Ms Madra blasted the government in Baku for its decision. "In my 25 years of curating... I have never experienced this kind of conflict," she said.
Arts & Ents blogs
Owen Howells is a DJ/producer who grew up in Australia but was born in the UK. He came back to the U...
Fancy seeing a play about serial killers? How about inviting a funeral director into your home for a...
There are a good many moments in the second episode of this psychological thriller that deserve refl...
- 1 What, let gays get married? We must be bonkers
- 2 'Something passed underneath us, quite close': Airbus A320 has close encounter with UFO
- 3 Rocky Horror star Tim Curry 'suffers major stroke'
- 4 Lord of the Sings: Sir Christopher Lee, 91, to release heavy metal album
- 5 Exclusive: Woolwich killings suspect Michael Adebolajo was inspired by cleric banned from UK after urging followers to behead enemies of Islam
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.