Ape portrait of Arafat in Moscow causes scandal [pg. 7]

December 21, 2005 04:00
1 minute read.

The Palestinian Authority's mission in Moscow has complained about an exhibit in a controversial Russian arts gallery featuring a portrait of a monkey dressed as the late Palestinian chairman Yasser Arafat, MosNews and the Newsru.com Web sites reported on Tuesday. In a letter sent to the gallery owner Marat Guelman, the Palestinian diplomats voiced regret over the "unethical attitude" of the artist, whose name was reported as Ilya Chichkan, towards the former chairman. The gallery owner responded by saying that politicians should not tell artists what to do, especially if they are artists living in another country. He said that the painting was not titled Arafat but called by the name of the monkey that was used as the model for the artist. Asked if Chichkan was Jewish, Guelman said only that he was Ukrainian. Guelman's gallery is widely known in art circles for hosting modern exhibitions that often cause controversy and lead to legal cases. In January 2005, a group of Orthodox Christians filed a complaint about an exhibition that they saw as inciting religious hatred. Earlier, a religious group sued Guelman as one of the organizers of the "Beware: Religion!" exhibition, which they saw as blasphemous. A court upheld their claim.

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