An anti-oil pipeline art exhibit has had its permit revoked and will soon be shipping off from Calgary's city hall.
The show, titled Art for an Oil-Free Coast, caused a stir this week, as some politicians in Canada's oil and gas capital called it too "political."
Esteemed Canadian artists Robert Bateman and Carol Evans both contributed paintings to the exhibit, which is meant to target the $6.5-billion Northern Gateway pipeline.
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But, the Calgary Herald reports the group's city hall permit is being yanked because a bylaw prevents exhibitors from selling items or demonstrating inside the building.
“When we took the application in we weren’t aware there was a specific political agenda or cause associated with the art exhibit,” said Sharon Purvis, the city’s director with corporate properties and buildings, told the Herald.
“If they were to apply again tomorrow, they would not get a permit.”
Politicians and members of the public took objection to the show earlier this week.
“I’m livid about this — I can’t believe this is going on when this is supposed to be a neutral, non-political showcase for Calgarians,” Ald. Diane Colley-Urquhart told the Calgary Sun.
“We certainly don’t need people like this disguising their protest against the Northern Gateway pipeline as art, and then using that art as a fundraiser to support the cause.”
Alberta’s Justice Minister Jonathan Denis, a Calgary MLA, wrote on his Facebook page that “if we're going to allow one side of the issue on display in a public place, equal opportunity should be given to the other side as well.”
Contributing artist Bateman, however, welcomed the fuss caused by the artwork.
“I’m sympathetic to the councillors that want to ban it,” he told the Globe and Mail. “They’re actually helping the cause of raising the profile of the show, which is OK, because otherwise the show might get ignored.”
Show organizer, Brian Falconer, defended the show, saying the exhibit is meant to simply engage viewers.
“The intent of the artists was to carry this conversation and express their fears about this project. It’s not intended to be critical or an attack on the industry. It’s simply a message of care,” Falconer told the Herald.
Price tags were covered up on the art Monday after questions were raised about a bylaw violation. The group will be allowed to stay until end of day Wednesday, but they are not permitted to give media interviews or talk politics with the public.
The tour moves to Canmore Wednesday.
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