Spread legs artwork in Glasgow park removed following community outrage after alleged rape

An “offensive” art installation in a Glasgow park has been taken down after it caused outrage within the community following the alleged rape of a teenager earlier this year.

A pair of legs wearing high heels were fixed on the gates of Festival Park in Cessnock. They spread open as the gates to the park opened.

Many in the community, particularly women, have been outraged at the work, criticising it as insensitive and inappropriate.

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The outrage follows the alleged rape of an 18-year-old girl in the Cessnock park earlier this year.

The art installation on the gates of Festival Park.

However, the artwork was removed by Glasgow City Council on Monday morning.

A council spokesperson said the local authority and its arm’s-length bodies were not aware of or approved the installation.

Rakel McMahon, an Icelandic-Irish artist who created the work as part of a collection by Govan-based organisation Ltd Ink Corporation, claims that she was aware of the alleged rape when creating the work.

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In a post on Instagram, Ms McMahon said: “I am aware of the horrible attack in that park as I did research on the area especially looking at safety for women, as parks and green areas in a city are in general not safe place for women.

"Especially after dark (currently working on a project that comments on sexual harassment in parks and public space) as a feminist I was aware of that it might be interpreted as sexist ... but at the same time it is trying to point out that we should not assume anything, not by how people are dressed, shirt skirts or high heels. The work is two legs in high heels, are they female?

"I feel the work touches upon the discourse on victim blaming in sexual harassment as well as giving the park area a feminine vibe that these green areas need.

“As for now, parks, in Iceland, Glasgow or any other city, are not safe for everybody.”

Commenting on the artwork, Eleanor Jackson, an art history lecturer, said: “It’s seriously distasteful and unpleasant, sending all the wrong signals.

"I lecture in art history and am just appalled by the implications of this work, especially in light of the seemingly growing misogyny and erasure of women in society today.”

Ltd Ink Corporation has been contacted for comment.

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