The Self-Censorship Trap: Some Artists Walking Right Into It


The UK has, in recent years, grappled with a string of cases highlighting the roadblocks for free expression in various forms of art. In 2015, for instance, police recommended to cancel part of an art exhibition at a London gallery -- not because of protests but because it might be "potentially inflammatory". The art installation, ISIS Threaten Sylvania, by an artist known as Mimsy, was removed from an exhibition called Passion for Freedom at the Mall Gallery in London. The work, a political satire, featured children's toys, known as Sylvanian Families. "Far away, in the land of Sylvania, rabbits, foxes, hedgehogs, mice and all woodland animals have overcome their differences to live in harmonious peace and tranquility," the exhibition catalogue states. "MICE-IS, a fundamentalist Islamic terror group, are threatening to dominate Sylvania, and annihilate every species that does not submit to their hardline version of sharia law."