A Guernsey artist caused a storm of debate by displaying a collection of artwork showing popular Disney characters engaged in same-sex kisses.
Sian Jones, 25, caused controversy when she made the decision to exhibit her work at Guernsey Annual Art Festival. Some criticised this decision as the event was open to all ages, Diva reported.
Jones said she never intended her works to offend, but defended her decision to exhibit them: “I remember learning at university that art should be about making people question their views and react, so in those terms it was a success.”
The work depicted two worlds coming together with images of The Little Mermaid’s Ariel kissing Princess Jasmine from Aladdin, and Eric and Aladdin of the same films.
Debate has been raging online, as an apparent schism between people asking “Why should I care?” people opposed to the artwork, and those defending their right to freedom of opinion.
A local schoolteacher reportedly wrote on a Facebook page for the event: “While I’m neither a prude nor anti-gay I was a little put off. I don’t think a family event is the place to display this work. It is a little difficult to explain to toddlers why Ariel and Jasmine & Aladdin and Eric are kissing.”
One commenter on the ‘Proud Parenting’ Blog asked: “Is the event for adults only or children as well? Because I think the children will be confused about why Pocahontas and Ariel are cheating on their men. Aren’t you only supposed to kiss the person you’re with? I don’t think kids understand the concept of polygamous relationships.”
Jones engaged with critics and supporters on thisisguernsey.com in a good-humoured debate over questions of the appropriateness of the exhibition, copyright infringement and her skills as an artist.
Several commentators asked for images of other same-sex Disney couples, and one simply said: “Cool”.
Jones told PinkNews.co.uk: “My intention with this project was to comment on childhood and how homosexuality isn’t broached by films, such as Disney ones. I feel that if children were exposed to homosexuality from an earlier age it would maybe show a decline in homophobia in later years as they would see it more as “the norm”.
“The majority of comments were positive, which is great as Guernsey is known to be very old fashioned in its way of thinking at times (the age of consent for gay men was only lowered a couple of years ago, much later than the English Government!).”