27 May 2006

Adams angered at museum snub


27/05/2006 - 17:11:31

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams tonight claimed he had been snubbed by a prestigious British museum.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe 57-year-old, who has been welcomed in the White House, No 10 Downing Street and the home of Nelson Mandela, said the Victoria and Albert Museum in London had refused to invite him to its Che Guevara exhibition.

He hit out at the museum for claiming that his presence would be neither relevant or appropriate on the launch night.

“I think its stance is especially absurd given that this particular exhibition is about an iconic revolutionary figure, with family connections to Ireland, who fought against injustice and oppression both in Cuba and in South America.”

Mr Adams had been invited to the opening of the Che Guevara exhibition in the V&A next month by its curator, Trisha Ziff. She had previously worked with him on a Mexican-Irish art exhibition and an exhibition of photos about the shooting of unarmed civilians on Bloody Sunday in Derry in 1972.

According to Mr Adams, Ms Ziff was told that all her invite list was approved "except Gerry Adams who is neither relevant or appropriate for this occasion".

The exhibition, which will run from June 5 until August 28, centres on the iconic photograph of Che Guevara taken by Alberto Díaz Korda in 1960. It contains photography, posters, film, fine art and clothing inspired by the image from more than 30 countries.

When Ms Ziff queried the Museum’s refusal to invite Mr Adams, she was told by another member of staff that there would be 1960’s fashion show and a display of 1960’s graphics running alongside the exhibition, with models, actresses and fashion journalists expected to attend. The staff member said that the presence of Mr Adams might not be appropriate because of this joint event and offered to arrange a private viewing for him.

Ms Ziff was later told that the Museum had a policy of not inviting people affiliated to any specific party but that she could bring Mr Adams as a personal guest.

Mr Adams, who has consistently denied allegations that he is a member of the IRA’s army council, said one possible reason for the Museum’s decision was that it was OK to struggle against injustice, but not against British injustice.

“On the basis of the current ’reason’ offered by the Victoria & Albert Museum, of refusing to invite politicians, it would appear that if Che was still alive he would be barred from his own exhibition. The British Establishment works in wondrous ways.”

However, even if the invite had been issued, Mr Adams would have been unable to attend. He is due to travel to Spain next month to meet Basque political parties in the wake of the ETA ceasefire.

A spokeswoman for the V&A Museum was contacting senior staff for comment.

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