Confederate Flag Painting Banned at Gainesville State

Artwork depicting a Confederate flag was taken down at Gainesville State College, located in Georgia. President Martha Nesbitt ordered that the artwork be removed after written protests came from a website called “Southern Heritage Alerts.”

The artwork, which features two Klansmen, a lynched black man and a black woman in African garb within the flag, was taken down on Jan. 25, two weeks after it had been placed on display.

“Sometimes a president has to make difficult decisions. First and foremost, I have to consider the impact of an action on the health and reputation of the institution. In this instance, I made a judgment call that the negative results would outweigh the positive ones,” Nesbitt said in a news release.

Nesbitt said that the removal of the art had nothing to do with the complaints from the southern heritage website. She said that her decision “was not based on any one group’s agenda, complaint or the overall content of the painting.”

Students and members of the community disputed the incident by stretching black duct tape over their mouths and standing in silence on Friday afternoon. Protesters are calling the incident a blatant act of censorship.

The artist, Stanley Bermudez, who is also an art appreciation professor at the college, said that he was not consulted about the removed artwork. He titled the painting “Heritage?”, which reflects his negative views of the Confederate flag.

“In school (in Venezuela) we learned about the United States’ Civil War and slavery. I learned to have a negative view of the flag — I basically associated the image of the flag with slavery, racism and the KKK,” Bermudez said in an interview with the Gainesville Times.

He also said that the painting “is very much what I feel and think about when I see that flag. It’s just my personal feelings about it. It’s an accumulation of the things I’ve seen, studied and read over the years.”

Though Bermudez is upset that his artwork is no longer on display, he is not upset with Nesbitt.

“I respect the decision of the president to take the painting down. I wouldn’t want to be in that kind of position,” he said.

What do you think? Does the president have good reason to take down Bermudez’s painting? Please comment below.

Via The Gainesville Times

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