New exhibition celebrating same-sex couples vandalised, then stolen
A series of photos showing LGBT couples and families have been spray-painted, torn and stolen by vandals.
The artist behind an outdoor exhibition of photos – aimed at “normalising the concept of alternative families” – has expressed outrage after his work was repeatedly damaged by vandals.
The series has been vandalised several times since it went on display on last month on the railings of Toulouse’s picturesque Grand Rond park.
Some of the images – which also included pictures of disabled and single parent families – had to be replaced after they were spray-painted with homophobic slurs, whilst large pieces were torn out of others.
However, the situation worsened when all of the artwork – some of which featured French celebrities posing as same-sex couples – was later stolen.
Photographer Olivier Ciappa says the show – titled ‘Les Couples de la Republique’ – was meant to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the French LGBT Association L’Autre Cercle.
He took to Facebook to lament the loss of the pictures and to express his anger at those behind the destructive campaign against his work.
“All the new photos reinstalled in Toulouse have been stolen!” he wrote.
“The first time, they wanted to show their displeasure. The second time, they have totally decided to erase the expo so that no one in Toulouse can see it.
“By stealing all the photos, nothing is visible, as if the expo did not exist,” he added.
“Not only were the old photos vandalised, all the new panels that were installed yesterday by the town hall have also been taken!”
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In response, the photographer has now posted all of the images from the original series on social media – saying he will not let the vandals stop his work being seen by as many people as possible.
“They want to censor this kind of photos that they find offensive? This is not a problem,” he said in the post.
“There’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. There’s the button like, there’s the share button. And we can use them.”
Police say a group of six youths were apprehended for allegedly vandalising the artworks.
The youths claimed that they attacked the pieces due to their Catholic beliefs and to protest the promotion of that “way of life”.