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Acclaimed British artist: ‘I wouldn’t mind a few slaves’

‘FRIGHTFULLY BORING’: Artist Maggie Hambling (left) was unmoved by Steve McQueen’s Oscar-winning film 12 Years a Slave

A RENOWNED artist has sparked outrage after she allegedly made offensive comments about slavery at a university event.

Contemporary painter and sculptor Maggi Hambling reportedly declared that “I think slaves would be very handy” and “I wouldn’t mind a few” while participating in an art auction to raise funds at the University Campus Suffolk (UCS). She also criticised Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave, describing the Oscar-winning production as that “frightfully boring slave film”.

Continuing her tirade Hambling, who is a recipient of both an OBE and CBE, reportedly said “in the end, I didn’t care about the f****g slave.”

But it was the comment about owning slaves that earned the ire of art student Jason Haye – the only black student in the room at the time. Haye, who was enlisted to film the event, said he did not find the comments funny unlike the others in the audience who erupted into laughter.

He told The Voice: “The comment was shocking, but what really made me feel let down was that [some of] my fellow students and even lecturers were laughing.”


Haye said he was made to feel ‘invisible’ and was given the impression that he was over - reacting when he tried to raise the issue with the university.

But he said: “I was not the only person offended by the incident”. According to him, “other students came up to me afterwards and asked me if I was OK and the university has [allegedly] received seven letters of complaint.”

In protest at the offensive remarks by the artist, the 36-year-old student said he created a YouTube video of the incident, which he was forced to remove after being threatened with legal action. Nonetheless, it has already attracted support with the campaign group Garden of Freedom writing a blog about the comments.

INVISIBLE: Student Jason Haye

Haye said he has since launched an online petition to try to prevent his university from using the £650 raised at the event.

“There is an ethical issue here, in my view, using the money means a commodity has been put over a student’s well-being,” complained Haye.


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