At 4pm yesterday, a group of students assembled outside of the Radcliffe Camera as part of a larger protest which has taken place across Poland. The protest is a response to the National Museum of Warsaw’s act of removing a total of four artworks by female artists, including a 1973 video by Natalia LL in which a young woman is featured eating a banana in a suggestive manner.
While the head of the National Museum of Warsaw, Jerzy Miziolek, argued that the video may not be suitable for children, many refuted this claim, instead considering the ban to be unnecessary and a case of art censorship.
Prior to the Oxford banana protest, Jerzy Miziolek announced that the video would be reinstalled back into the gallery until 6th May 2019 after which the exhibition featuring the artwork was due to be changed. Despite this announcement, Oxford protestors told The Oxford Student that they wanted the artwork to be reinstalled for longer, believing that the argument that there was to be a change in exhibition was an excuse to not display the video. They argued that especially given the underrepresentation of female artwork that prevails in galleries, the removal of the artwork should not occur.
The removal of the artwork prompted many to take to social media, uploading images of themselves with bananas to show their support for the artwork being reinstalled. High profile individuals who participated in the #BananaSelfie protest include actress Magdalena Cielecka.
Image Credit: Noppawat Tom Charoensinphon