Queer Cyprus Association made a statement regarding the removal of the sculpture at METU North Cyprus Campus.
(Nicosia, 8.07.2023) Queer Cyprus Association emphasised that the LGBTI+phobic claims regarding the removal of the sculpture, made by artist Serhat Selışık, by the METU North Cyprus administration should be taken seriously and the contribution of art to freedom of expression should not be ignored.
As Queer Cyprus Association, we are closely following the news titled “Sculpture controversy at METU” published in Bugün Kıbrıs Newspaper on 7 July 2023 and we are closely following the ongoing debates. We think that the LGBTI+phobic allegations regarding the removal of the sculpture by the METU Northern Cyprus Campus administration made by artist Serhat Selışık should be taken seriously. The contribution of art to freedom of expression and diversity should not be ignored.
METU administration’s statements on the issue are quite inadequate and full of question marks. Despite the claim that the sculptures were damaged and in need of maintenance, it is unclear why the artists were not contacted to repair the sculptures. Furthermore, it is not known who was responsible for the removal of some stones from the top of the sculpture.
In the statement of the METU KKK administration, it is stated that the sculptures have been taken under protection. However, we believe that taking the statues under protection is a more appropriate method for their repair and restoration. The removal of the sculptures is seen as a step that disregards values such as diversity and freedom of artistic expression.
This incident shows that the value of artistic works and artists is not sufficiently appreciated. Art is a means of making space for the diverse voices and experiences of society, and the removal of a sculpture representing diversity means that these values are ignored. We emphasise that the questions that need to be addressed to the METU North Cyprus administration should be clarified and the reason why the sculpture was removed should be revealed. We would like to clearly state that any practice based on LGBTI+phobia is unacceptable.
As Queer Cyprus Association, we call on the METU administration to take the necessary steps to restore and repair the sculptures and to support freedom of artistic expression. Art and culture are crucial elements that reflect the richness and diversity of our society, and it is an important duty for a university to respect these values. We call on METU to recognise the importance of artistic expression and diversity and take the necessary steps to repair the sculptures.
As Queer Cyprus Association, we commit that we will take an active role in the fight against LGBTI+phobia, take the necessary steps in this regard and continue to fight for the free expression of art and artists in society. We will resolutely continue our goal of building a society based on equality, respect, and human rights. We will share latest information with the public once we receive it and inform you if there are any results.
Queer Cyprus Association