Gay artist’s visual poem BANNED from Jubilee Library exhibition

February 5, 2013


Controversial poet and artist Vince Laws has had a visual poem BANNED from the Jubilee Library in Brighton during his exhibition entitled I am a poem celebrating LGBT history month.

The piece, entitled THIS POPE IS PANTS, is made of donated pants, stitched together to form bunting. There is a letter stapled to each crotch, spelling out THIS POPE IS PANTS. THIS POPE IS PANTS and it was displayed momentarily at the packed artistic launch of LGBT History Month at the library last Friday, February  1, but the poem has now left the building.

Explaining the concept of THIS POPE IS PANTS… artist, Vince Laws, said:

“As a poet and artist I wanted to protest at the Pope’s visit to the UK in September, 2010. For me that meant coming up with words, a poem, a slogan – and then finding a way to make that piece visual,  something that engaged with the public.

“I came up with THIS POPE IS PANTS I liked the derogatory, perhaps infantile but humorous sense that PANTS evokes, and set out to spell out why this Pope is PANTS after checking out the website:


P – Protector of paedophile priests.
A – Against abortion always, even in extreme cases, vulnerable women, rape, abuse.
N – No Condoms Never leading to big families and the spread of AIDS (He’s changed his view on this since I started my protest, now male prostitutes are showing responsibility when they use condoms… it’s a start.)
T – Teaching segregation by encouraging segregated education.
S – insulting to all Sexualities who don’t fit his narrow definition of normal.

Vince continued:

“I invited people I knew on Facebook to send me pants if they agreed with my protest and I got over 50 pairs from enthusiastic supporters. I hand-stitched the briefs, y-fronts and knickers together so they hung like bunting. There are poets’ pants, artists’ pants, teachers’ pants, a pop star’s pants, mum’s pants, dad’s pants, kids’ pants, all sewn together in protest.”

“I hung the 3 strings of THIS POPE IS PANTS bunting on my cottage in Norfolk during the Pope’s week long visit to the UK. I was interviewed about my protest by BBC Radio Suffolk, and on North Norfolk Radio News. The letters are made of card, stapled on to each crotch.”

Vince concluded:

“To be honest it seems a bit OTT. All that would fit in the space was ‘This Pope is’. if the library disagree that this Pope is a protector of paedophile priests, against abortion and never allows condoms, refute my claims – don’t censor them.”

Vince Laws attended a Gay Business Forum social meeting at the A-Bar on Marine Parade on Tuesday  evening, February 4, to explain to LGBT business owners the concept of his exhibition and wider B.Right.On LGBT Arts Festival which is running in the city all February.

Cllr Geoffrey Bowden, Chair of the City Council’s Economic Development & Culture Committee attended the meeting but refused to discuss the censorship issue when questioned  by Gscene Editor, James Ledward.  Cllr Bowden said  the question was political, he later accused Gscene editor James Ledward of “talking out of his arse.”

A spokesperson for the council, said:

“Whilst we support artistic expression, we have to strike a balance between controversial work being exhibited in an exhibition in the foyer of a public library and not offending other library users or their religious beliefs. Where possible we accommodate artists and in this case the work was on show for the private view but our overall display policy is not to promote a particular religious view or cause library users offense.”

The Vatican refused to comment:

I am a poem is funded with an Arts Council grant and runs at the Jubilee Library until Wednesday, February 13.