Parents slam children's art exhibition in Worksop - which features guns made out of LEGO

Furious parents are threatening to boycott a children’s art exhibition in Worksop which features models of guns used by terrorists - built out of LEGO.

Wednesday, 22nd January 2020, 11:45 am
Updated Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 12:14 pm

The controversial display - aimed at children aged 3-11 - includes work by 18 international artists.

The edgy artworks include LEGO models of US President Donald Trump standing on a wrecking ball hitting the Statue of Liberty.

Another artist, David Hughes has recreated the character Alex from Stanley Kubrick’s cult classic A Clockwork Orange.

An exhibition of artwork made of LEGO targeting school children contains guns made of the iconic bricks in a reference to the Troubles.

But parents were left fuming after Belfast artist David Turner built guns, including semi-automatic weapons and a multi-coloured pistol to highlight the “atrocities of war”.

The seven weapons also come complete with magazines full of yellow LEGO bullets.

The blurb accompanying the exhibit states: “His childhood was shaped by the turbulent times of ‘The Troubles’, with guns, conflict and checkpoints a part of his everyday life.

“Turner recreates these memories using LEGO as a medium.

The controversial LEGO art exhibition has opened at the Harley Gallery, Worksop.

“His accurate collection of guns is inspired not just by memories of his own childhood, but by thoughts of the devastating effects on children who like him, are victims of historical or present conflicts and terrorist attacks around the world.

“Turner’s art is intended as a critical commentary on the atrocities of war.”

The work forms the centrepiece of the Brick by Brick exhibition being run at the Harley Gallery in Worksop.

A group of parents are calling for Turner’s gun display to be removed or “toned down”.

Harley Gallery education and engagement manager Dayle Green with one of the exhibits.

Dad-of-two Barry Johnson, 45, of Nottingham, said: “I took my two sons along because I was interested to see LEGO-inspired artwork which my kids could copy at home.

“I thought it was a very interesting exhibition but the guns, especially the multi-coloured handgun, was a bit too much.

“My kids are six and four and play with LEGO a lot at home and they are too young to be exposed to violence and guns.

“I don’t want them using LEGO to build guns. Surely some issues, like war, can be kept off limits for young kids. I would prefer the display to be toned down.”

Some parents are calling for the exhibition to be boycotted.

Mum-of-three Michelle Hanley, 35, of Nottingham, said: “I don’t get angry by very much but this display of LEGO weapons really got me irate.

“This exhibition is open for everyone but kids are definitely going to go along. LEGO is huge for children.

“It’s totally inappropriate to feature a table full of weapons. Some of them look very realistic.

“It’s up to parents to tell their children about war and terrorism, it shouldn’t be something they stumble across while looking at LEGO.

“My friend was so upset she started a petition and is threatening to boycott it unless the display is taken down.

“At the very least, staff should warn parents but there is nothing.”

Lisa Gee, director of the gallery, said: “It’s good to have artwork created in the medium of LEGO as it’s something that connects with people of all ages.

“We are showing an exhibition created by artists from across the world, who have created work from LEGO because as a material they feel it adds an additional layer of meaning to their work.“It isn’t just a building block. The playful, primary colours of the bricks and its association with childhood memories all add to the artworks that you see here.”

Children aged three to 11 are also invited to make LEGO self-portraits, compete in a speed building competition and work in groups to construct bridges.

Harley Gallery education and engagement manager Dayle Green said: “Our workshops aim to motivate and encourage young minds to be inventive and use their hands to create their own pieces of artwork.

“This programme has been inspired by our popular Brick by Brick exhibition.

“We’ve got lots to keep children entertained and creative and we’re sure they will love the many LEGO activities.”