A CAMPAIGN by the ‘Far Right’ forced artwork by one of Scotland’s biggest bands to be withdrawn from the National Galleries of Scotland following claims by extremists that it was “anti-white”.

The four-minute film by Young Fathers, the acclaimed Edinburgh group who won the Mercury Music Prize in 2014, explores themes around male representation as well as issues surrounding privilege and inequality.

Commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery in London, the footage shows one of the band members mimicking poses portrayed in the fine oil paintings exhibited in the darkened rooms of the portrait gallery in Edinburgh and later shadow boxing in the gloom.

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The black musician appears to question the paintings while a narrative voice plays over the footage and uses phrases such as “Dead, random white dude. What’s so special about you?” , “Your status. White. Powerful. Rich” and “A coat framed with gold surrounding white skin”.

But the film, which has been praised by fans including writer Irvine Welsh, attracted a string of extremist and racist comments on social media amid claims it was “targeted” by the far right.

The reaction prompted Young Fathers to urge the galleries to remove the artwork from their website claiming it had been “hijacked by people with ulterior motives, to create hatred and division amongst us”.

But within hours of the footage being withdrawn, the National Galleries of Scotland reposted the video.

Last night the band said in a statement: “This film challenges the fact that the walls of the gallery overwhelmingly present the rich, privileged, ruling classes of the past.

“Where are the ‘ordinary’ people? Why are lords and ladies more important than firemen and women, than school teachers or doctors?

“In the film, the protagonist affirms his own worth, as a living man against the dead aristocracy in the pictures he’s looking at.

“Unfortunately, the meaning of the film has been purposefully misinterpreted by elements of the Far Right who have targeted the galleries and Young Fathers, saying the film is ‘anti-white’ when it’s clearly ‘anti-privilege’.

“It’s amazing that the National Portrait Gallery commissioned a film like this, that they would take a chance, and it’s a shame that it’s was hijacked by people with ulterior motives, to create hatred and division amongst us.”

Young Fathers _– whose members are Alloysious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole and Graham “G” Hastings – rose to prominence in 2013/2014, with their album Tape Two winning the Scottish Album of the Year award.

The band have made a second piece of art for the exhibition, as well as a sound work, which remain on display in the gallery itself.

A statement from the National Galleries of Scotland said: “The Young Fathers online video, featuring music, dance and their commentary was made as part of a contemporary response to themes about male representation explored in the exhibition Looking Good at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

“The views expressed by the band relate to issues around privilege and inequality and conventions of historic portraiture and its display.

“At the request of the band it was temporarily removed from YouTube and the galleries’ websites today, and has now been re-instated.”

Looking Good: The Male Gaze from Van Dyck to Lucian Freud, runs until October 1.