Around 250 people gathered outside a Dalston gallery on Saturday to protest against recent exhibitions showcasing works by the so-called ‘alt-right’ movement; white nationalism that is said to be tied in with racism, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.
This isn’t the first time LD50 and owner Lucia Diego have been a platform for controversial works. Last summer, the gallery hosted a ‘Neoreaction Conference’ which welcomed Brett Stevens, a white supremacist whose writing were said to have inspired Anders Breivik, the man behind the Norwegian terrorist attack in 2011 that left 77 people dead and 319 injured.
Addressing the protest, Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville said: “We condemn businesses such as LD50 which promote and give a platform to racism, xenophobia and hate speech. We should not allow hate to become normalised or acceptable.”
Just one man attended the protest to present the other side of the argument, a D C Miller, who told Eastlondonlines: “[We need to] be prepared to tolerate listening to ideas that you find repulsive and to challenge those ideas intellectually and morally.”
In a statement posted on their website, the gallery said: “Our position has always been that the role of art is to provide a vehicle for the free exploration of ideas, especially where these are challenging, controversial or…distasteful for some individuals to contemplate.”
“What we are experiencing now is how history writes itself, how fears and ignorance come to dominate people’s minds, effacing the possibility of truth.”
Video: Oliver Chapman, Imogen Mills