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Cold War Steve Bournemouth beach artwork covered up

Cold War Steve windbreak

image copyrightCold War Steve

image captionThe “hopeful” side of the artwork featuring local figures is allowed to be displayed

An artist said he was “disappointed” his work will not be shown in its entirety on a Dorset beach after objections from a council.

Satirist Cold War Steve rose to fame with online collages combining images from politics and pop culture alongside EastEnders actor Steve McFadden.

His latest work, a 25-metre curved windbreak on Boscombe Beach, Bournemouth, is his biggest yet.

But only one side of it will be on show to avoid “causing further division”.

Mark Howell, acting leader of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council, said it “should not promote, or be perceived as promoting, particular political viewpoints”.

The double-sided windbreak, part of the

Arts by the Sea Festival, has a “hopeful” side and a “dark” side.

The side being covered up features figures including Boris Johnson, Vladimir Putin, Rupert Murdoch, and Nigel Farage amid scenes of chaos.

image copyrightCold War Steve

image captionThe double-sided windbreak features “light” and “dark” scenes set on Boscombe beach

Cold War Steve, whose real name is Christopher Spencer, called the first side a “celebration and hopeful piece about the UK… looking at the values that make us great – inclusivity, compassion, diversity, charity and creativity”.

He said the censored part “deals with the dark underbelly of our society, the movements of intolerance, hatred and division – issues that should never be ignored, let alone covered up”.

“I do feel it is a mistake for one side to be covered over and to ignore the message as a whole – to block out the dark and only celebrate the light feels counterproductive when we could have these difficult conversations together now,” he added.

image copyrightCold War Steve
image captionCold War Steve said the controversial art confronted “intolerance, hatred and division”

Mr Howell said: “While we would like to see more art on the seafront, this wonderful space is used by people from all walks of life.

“We should aim to promote understanding, and to accommodate the concerns and interests of a broad spectrum of society.

“I feel that the dystopian image risks causing further division at a time when we need to come together as a population.”

Festival director Andrea Francis said she was “thrilled” to showcase the work – which will be available in full on the Arts by the Sea website – but added: “As a local authority produced festival, however, we understand the council’s position.”

Organisers said there had been an “understanding” images of Mr Spencer’s work would be supplied to the festival to review “in good time” but were not.

“The dystopian image did not meet the description of being ‘playful’ supplied to us by the producer in advance,” they added.

Related Topics

  • Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council

  • Bournemouth
  • Art
  • Political satire

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