An art appreciation professor in Georgia has had his controversial, interpretive Confederate flag painting removed this week from an annual faculty art show at Gainesville State College. It's a move he's calling censorship.
"I tell my students that they may come across art that they don't like — they may even hate it and that's OK," art appreciation professor Stanley Bermudez told the Gainesville Times. "If you don't like the way something looks, you don't have to look at it."
The color painting, called "Heritage?", depicts a Confederate flag with images of a KKK member and a black person hanging from a noose in the background.
Bermudez, who's from Venezuela, likened his piece's removal to the censorship ushered in by his home country's dictator, Hugo Chavez. He said the painting does espouse a less-favorable view of the flag, but that's what comes to mind when he thinks about it -- images that result from what he learned of the South while growing up in Venezuela and also while in college in Texas.
"I wasn't expecting that kind of feedback. I've been an artist for 25 years. I've always known that artwork can be powerful, but I never dreamed it would be this powerful to the point that I would be censored," he told the Times.
But what some call censorship, others call reticence or discretion:
Although the finished piece is how Bermudez sees the flag, not everyone agrees with his views. Public response to the piece was so strong that Gainesville State's administration asked that the picture be removed from the faculty showing in the Roy C. Moore Art Gallery on the college's Oakwood campus, Bermudez says.
While Bermudez doesn't agree with the decision, he does "respect it."
"I know if I was in that kind of position, I'd have a difficult time making a decision, because it's a hard one to make," he said.