Fredericton’s Charlotte Street Art Centre has decided that it will show an art exhibit featuring drawings created by Palestinian children despite its decision to postpone the display last week.
The art centre was getting ready to display "A Child's View of Gaza" last Friday until the project was put on hold.
National organizers of the art exhibit only heard about the postponement at the last minute and were only told that the Charlotte Street Centre had received complaints.
The art work depicts what the children remember about Israel's Operation Cast Lead, a two-month-long military assault that killed 1,400 Palestinians, including 300 children.
Nora Kelly, the president of the Charlotte Street Arts Centre, issued a statement on Tuesday evening, saying the board has voted to show the art exhibit starting on April 26.
"The Charlotte Street Arts Centre does not endorse any particular political viewpoint or group. Our vision is opening the doors to creative expression for all," Kelly’s statement said.
"This means we host artists from all backgrounds and viewpoints, and as such, we respect freedom of expression. Art often represents particular views and values, and this show represents the views and values of a particular group of people. We welcome artistic expressions of other points of view."
The exhibit in question has already been shown in 30 towns and cities across Canada, including Moncton and Riverview. It showcases works of art, 26 in all, drawn by children in Gaza.
Nancy Hartling, who helped bring the exhibit to St. Paul's United Church in Riverview, said some people were nervous about it but in the end they decided it was all about the children and their view of the war. Hartling said it wasn't about taking sides, it was about creating awareness.
About 100 people came out to Riverview to see the children's drawings.
Thomas Woodley, the president of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, the group that organized the art display, said the art centre’s original decision is a "form of censorship."
"This is an art exhibition, the children, these are drawings that they've drawn based on their own experiences, their own observations," Woodley said.