Grayson Perry, the Turner Prize-winning artist who is perhaps better known to the general public for his extravagant cross-dressing, has admitted that he censors himself when it comes to matters relating to Islam.
Speaking at a meeting organised by the Art Fund, Perry said that it was simple fear which stopped him from addressing Islam in his work. 'I don't want my throat cut', he said.
Perry was applauded for his honesty by Tim Marlowe, who was chairing the event at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, during which a panel of guests had gathered before a packed audience to discuss the question Is All Modern Art Left Wing?
Perry’s was the most important statement to come from a panel which was largely in agreement about the existence of a left/liberal orthodoxy in the art world.
However the panel, which included Shadow Arts Minister Ed Vaizey and academic Munira Mirza, had largely ignored the impact of Islamic radicalism on modern art, until contributions from the floor about the hypocrisy and double standards with regard to contemporary artists’ political statements led to a consideration of what is possibly the most important issue facing the creative world – that of freedom of expression.
NCF director Peter Whittle strongly urged Perry not to censor himself, pointing out that if artists have any responsibility at all it is to speak out and uphold freedom of speech.