David Pulphus’s painting.

Ferguson Protest Painting Removed then Reinstated to Capitol Hill Exhibition

A painting depicting a protest in Ferguson, Missouri, that features policemen with heads resembling razorback pigs has become the subject of a quarrel between Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, AP reports.

Republican Doug Lamborn, a representative of Colorado’s fifth district, removed high school student David Pulphus’s painting on Friday calling it offensive. The eighteen-year-old artist’s work was on display in a one-year-long exhibition in the US Capitol after he won an annual nationwide art competition sponsored by the Congressional Institute. Each spring, high school students are invited to submit artworks to their congressional representative’s office where panels comprising district artists select the winning works. Pulphus painted the canvas in which officers are aiming weapons at African American protesters who are holding signs that read “Racism Kills” after the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson.

Democrat William Lacy Clay, a representative of Missouri’s first district, restored the work to the exhibition stating that he was defending the constitution. “I do not agree or disagree with this painting,” Clay said. “But I will fight to defend this young man’s right to express himself because his artwork is true for him and he is entitled to that protection under the law.”

Republican Dana Rohrabacher of California and Republican Brian Babin of Texas, took the painting down again and returned it to Clay’s office. Congressional critics of the work claim that it violates the rules of the competition, which state: “Exhibits depicting subjects of contemporary political controversy or a sensationalistic or gruesome nature are not allowed.”

Clay rehung the painting.