YOUNG VOICES

Student 'Censored' By School After Her Breastfeeding Artwork Removed From Display During Ramadan

06/07/2015 15:33 BST | Updated 06/07/2015 15:59 BST
rossparry.co.uk / Tom Maddick

A student says she has been "censored" by her school after her breastfeeding artwork was not displayed in a communal space alongside other pupils' paintings during Ramadan.

Martha Armitage painted a series of images featuring a woman feeding her baby as part of her A-level course. However she was told they would not be displayed with her peers' artwork as the room was being used for prayers by Muslim pupils.

The 18-year-old has since accused Tapton Secondary School in Sheffield of being "overly sensitive".

df

One of Armitage's paintings

"I went to speak to the art technician because I wanted to see my artwork, I hadn't seen it since I'd submitted it for my A-level," Armitage told the Daily Mail.

"The technician told me the artwork wasn't going on display at all because it includes breasts and it's Ramadan.

"Muslim pupils at my school have told me they're not offended by it. I don't understand why the school were jumping to conclusions - they're just being overly sensitive."

She continued: "I have Muslim friends who are also outraged. They say it has nothing to do with Ramadan.. They're making decisions on behalf of a culture they don't understand. The Muslims I have spoken to are not offended by what I have created..

"As usual breastfeeding is being depicted in a sexual way. Why are people thinking it is sexual?"

sfhg

A message to Armitage's mother from the school's PA

In a statement, Claire Tasker and David Dennis, the joint heads of the school said: "We have 45 students studying post-16 Art. This amounts to a huge number of finished pieces that we display all over the school.

"We do not limit subject matter choice or censor finished pieces. We do not have the space to display all pieces at all times.

"Pieces by five students are currently displayed in our small Conference Room (located on the administration corridor in school). The room is used for meetings, as an exam space and also as a prayer room at lunchtimes.

"We made the decision (as it was during Ramadan) to not put the images of breast feeding into this room.

"The pieces are actually on display in the Finance Office which is frequented by far more staff and students on a daily basis.

"Before that they were on display in our Art rooms and admired by all. We have invited Martha to come into school to discuss her concerns - this is always the better way forward."