Paintings depicting “western, Asian and black monkeys” as part of an anti-racism campaign are meant to show “we are all the same race,” according to the artist. Critics condemned the artwork as a “sick joke.”
Italy’s football league Lega Serie A has received widespread criticism after selecting paintings of three monkeys to adorn the walls of its Milan headquarters as it launched an anti-racism campaign on Monday.
The artwork was commissioned following ongoing accusations of racismwithin Italian football.
Sports website footballitalia tweeted an image of the video, commenting below “Yes, it’s really real.”
“With this trio of paintings I would like to show that we are all the same race,” artist Simone Fugazzotto said.
“In fact when the Lega commissioned a work against racism last May, I immediately thought to paint a western monkey, an Asian monkey and a black monkey, because I would like to change people’s perceptions by my work,” he added.
The league’s chief executive, Luigi de Siervo, said that “football is an extraordinary tool for conveying positive messages, fair play and tolerance.” He added that the paintings “fully reflect these values” and would remain on show.
The artwork has received a great deal of criticism on social media, for example from Football Against Racism Europe, which tweeted that the campaign “looks like a sick joke” and was an “outrage.”
One of the country’s leading clubs AS Roma said it was “very surprised to see what appears to be an anti-racist campaign featuring painted monkeys on social media today,”
“We understand the league wants to tackle racism but we don’t believe this is the right way to do it,” the club said on its English-language twitter feed.
Earlier in December an Italian sports newspaper came under fire for the headline “Black Friday” next to images of two black Serie A footballers.
ed/rt (dpa. AP)