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Artist paints over ‘indecent’ school mural after parent complains

An urban mural has been removed from the school wall it was painted on after a parent of one of the pupils reportedly complained it was inappropriate.

Southend artist John Bulley was commissioned to paint a mural on a wall at the Epic Quest school, reported the Southend-on-Sea Echo. His creation showed youngsters jumping in the air, their arms over their heads and their tops riding up to expose a few inches of belly.

The happy scene included a young girl sitting with her legs slightly parted, looking down at a star held in her hands.

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One person, believed to be a parent, complained that the work of art was “indecent” and Jules Esposito, the owner and headmaster of the school, asked John Bulley to change it accordingly.

The artist was shocked to hear of the complaint and, instead of making any changes, he whitewashed over the entire piece.

“Apparently a mother complained about the painting of a girl on the wall,” he said. “She said her legs were apart and it was an inappropriate image for a school and the kids jumping were showing their midriffs. [Mr Esposito] was very apologetic and not a little embarrassed, but had to ask me to cover up the offending imagery. I thought he was joking at first.”

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“He said maybe I could cover the belly buttons,” he continued. “It’s my work and I wasn’t going to do that, so I whitewashed it all. Quite frankly, I think it’s ridiculous.”

However Mr Esposito denied there had been any specific complaints and said it was just Facebook “rumour-mongering.”

“Some people expressed a need for change and that they would like to see something else more appropriate,” he stated.

When I look at the original mural I see a bunch of happy, carefree kids. I doubt the bare midriffs would even have registered with me, were it not for this outcome. How anyone could label the artwork “indecent” or “inappropriate” is difficult to understand.

Yes, we live in a world in which our children may be subjected to all manner of (truly) indecent images. It’s up to parents, carers and teachers to take steps to ensure the images they see are age-appropriate.

But complaining about a mural showing a few inches of belly flesh gives our kids the wrong message entirely. That they should keep their entire bodies covered up in order to be “appropriate” and “decent.” That they can’t jump in the air with their hands flung over their heads in case their tops ride up. That they can’t just be kids, doing what all kids do, without worrying about what people think of what they look like.

More: What message is this school sending by Photoshopping students?

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