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Readers' Letters

MADDIE OUTRAGE

PUBLISHED: 15:10 11 February 2009 | UPDATED: 08:57 21 July 2010

AS church leaders in Hackney, we are writing to protest at the event held in Riverside Close, Lower Clapton, on Sunday, January 18,, hosted by Decima Gallery which was headlined in the Gazette (January 23)...

AS church leaders in Hackney, we are writing to protest at the event held in Riverside Close, Lower Clapton, on Sunday, January 18,, hosted by Decima Gallery which was headlined in the Gazette (January 23).

We would like to thank the Gazette for exposing this vile event. We are supporting the circulation of a petition to those of all faiths, and none, in Hackney, calling for serious discussions with the appropriate authorities in order to establish a code of practice to investigate, monitor and regulate such activities, with the aim of avoiding a repeat of this misuse of images of children.

There is an urgent need in our society to recover awareness of a shared and agreed moral code. This does not help that by the exhibiting of "hard core pornography" under the cover of "art", which discredits art itself and artists in Hackney.

In the interest of protecting the young and vulnerable from paedophilic fanaticising and activity, we object to the misuse of photographs of a young child being pasted on to pornographic magazines. We do not accept that it somehow "satirised the media" as though this justifies doing anything you like, no matter how offensive, vile, or hurtful to someone else.

We particularly object to the use of images of Madeleine McCann in the above activities and to the disrespect and insensitivity of these actions towards her parents, Gerry and Kate McCann.

We note that this has been condemned by NSPCC as appalling and completely insensitive to the family, and by the local MP, Meg Hillier.

Hackney Borough Deans.

Further to your "Maddy McCann" headline on January 22 and your editorial on January 29, it would appear that Decima Gallery should explain it' thinking behind the exhibition, Make Your Own Maddy Porn.

In many ways we were just trying to highlight how Madeleine McCann's image has been used and abused by the press over the past 21 months. All media have been responsible for wild speculation.

Once the McCanns were named as official suspects, the media turned against them in the most vicious way and then changed opinion again once their suspect status was lifted, showing no moral support for the family.

Again Decima Gallery never intended nor wanted to cause offence to the McCann family by doing this. However, we do realise this was impossible to achieve, but to simply highlight the fact Madeleine McCann has turned into a growth industry that seems to sink to lower and lower depths of reporting.

Still apparently newsworthy, little actual news on this story exists. Whether or not any Madeleine McCann porn exists or not is an irrelevant fact as no media outlet has asked to see it, or has actually seen it.

Now any excuse to put the McCanns in the media is wholeheartily reported on, in some instances ruining lives - for example a leading young Tory activist was expelled from the party after dressing up as Madeleine McCann for a fancy dress event, which is very much a non-story.

However, a young man's career has effectively been ruined due to the media obsession with the McCann story.

The media have said they only run McCann stories in the hope of finding her.

However, with both Make Your Own Maddy Porn and the young Tory story, not to mention many other examples such as "exclusive" articles giving us pictures of Maddy's bed, or teddy bear, we cannot see how these would help to find her.

As an afterword on this exhibition, Decima Gallery was featured on a radio show in Liverpool during which the presenter gave out our phone numbers and gallery name and said "we do not condone violence on this show, but if any of you listeners are in London over the weekend go down to Decima Gallery in Hackney and tell them what you think and phone them up" and added menacingly "because I know what I would do" and even at one point openly suggested that people should come to the gallery and burn the artwork.

Indeed, Decima Gallery was over three days subjected to dozens of people from Liverpool literally kicking the door in. We have just got new studio tenants and six of them were in the gallery over the weekend and were terrified. Several neighbours were shouted at and abused.

It seems that these potentially threatening attacks against the gallery have died down now. However, six of our new studio tenants have moved out due to art materials and artworks being smashed and are understandably terrified.

Losing these tenants and goodwill of our landlord, Decima Gallery in Hackney Wick had to close it doors on January 28 for the final time, leaving several planned exhibitions in confusion.

So where next for Decima? The Britain's Rubbish, Let's All Move to Berlin exhibition on May 1 in Berlin.

Until then, perhaps Decima Liverpool?

David C. West & Alex Chappel,

Decima,

Rosden House,

Old Street.

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