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Fury over mural 'censorship' played out in film

It was the colourful and provocative mural that stoked an artistic and political controversy.

CENTRE OF THE STORM: A couple take a look at the controversial Strathclyde painting, when it hung in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall in October 1990.
CENTRE OF THE STORM: A couple take a look at the controversial Strathclyde painting, when it hung in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall in October 1990.

Now, the moment that Councillor Pat Lally, the then leader of Glasgow Council, controversially announced the removal of a mural by Ian McCulloch from the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, can be seen for the first time in a new film to be exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy Annual Exhibition which opens in Edinburgh this weekend.

The film shows the 1990 dinner, arranged by Strathclyde Region to celebrate the 'Strathclyde' paintings and formal hand over to Glasgow, when Mr Lally unexpectedly said the art, contrary to plans, would be removed and replaced after a year.

The row that followed led to questions being asked in the Westminster parliament about artistic censorship, but eventually the paintings were removed and rumoured to have been lost.

However, they are now being kept at Glasgow Life's Nitshill store, and although there are no plans for them to be re-displayed in public, they can be viewed online on the BBC's Your Paintings website.

Mr McCulloch said: "For 20 years, I have continued to be puzzled by the City Council's reception of the painting, which eventually resulted in its suppression."

The 22-minute film of Glasgow Royal Concert Hall murals affair was commissioned by Strathclyde Council and filmed by staff from Jordanhill College of Education, and was intended as an educational project on the making of the winning paintings for distribution to the Regions' schools.

As part of this, the film unit was present at the dinner.

After the mural paintings were removed from the Concert Hall, the paintings were hung briefly at the Tramway venue.

The show featuring the film, Ian McCulloch 1990-94 by Tony Lavender, runs until May 4.

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