Controversial art exhibit won't be removed: City

The Israeli Ambassador is criticizing an exhibit being displayed at the municipally-owned Karsh-Masson Gallery, saying it glorifies terror.

The exhibit, called "Invisible" and created by Palestinian-Canadian Rehab Nazzal, portrays people the artist describes as political prisoners and assassinated Palestinians.

The exhibit is meant to challenge people's perceptions but the spokesperson for the Israeli embassy says what's missing from the exhibit is the history of some of the people it pictures.

Eitan Weiss said several of the people portrayed are alleged to have committed acts of terror.

"We're talking about people who massacred, who murdered women and children in Israel, civilians with no reason. So, we find it very offensive that such an exhibit basically glorifies them," he said.

Weiss added they're no longer requesting the exhibit be removed but they're hoping to educate people about their understanding of the images and ask them to keep an open mind if they view it.

The City of Ottaw has decided it will not remove the exhibit, despite the initial request, because they won't violate the artist's right to freedom of expression.

That is based on outside legal advice sought by city solicitor Rick O'Connor.

"People may not agree, they may agree, they have a choice not to go see it, that's what art does. Art generates controversy, art is about points of view, it's about perspective," said Steve Kanellakos, the deputy city manager.

He explained the exhibit was selected by an arms-length panel of independent artists who choose what art is displayed at the municipally owned gallery.

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