Fri 29 Apr, 2005 07:54 pm
Scottish art student gives up on plan for anti-Santa billboard campaign
at 19:48 on April 29, 2005, EST.
LONDON (AP) - Perhaps the elves put a curse on it. An art exhibition that questioned the existence of Santa Claus has been scrapped at the last minute, its British creator said Friday.
In an attempt to highlight the evils of consumerism, Glasgow School of Art student Darren Cullen had been planning to unveil an advertising billboard in the city Friday featuring the slogans Stop Lying To Your Children About Santa Claus and Santa Gives More To Rich Kids Than Poor Kids.
But Maiden Outdoor, which owns the billboard, vetoed it after the plan generated media interest.
"The company was contacted by a newspaper and I think they felt it was too contentious a theme," Cullen said.
"I am disappointed but I am going to be contacting other companies to see if they can help. I hope to get the project up and running some time soon."
Cullen, who is in the final year of study, denied he was trying to ruin the magic of Christmas.
"Santa Claus is a lie that teaches kids that products will make them happy," he said.
"Before they're old enough to think for themselves, the story of Santa has already got them hooked on consumerism. I think that's more immoral than this billboard."
The billboard is part of a public art project students are required to do each year.
It is not the first time Cullen has featured Father Christmas.
His portfolio includes a drawing of Santa saying "I killed Jesus" as well as posters and stickers telling parents: "Stop lying to your children about Santa Claus."
"Our students work with public spaces and unconventional sites as a means of creating dialogue about the things that matter to them and to all of us," said Tanya Eccleston, head of environmental art and sculpture at Glasgow School of Art.
I had a dialogue with a billboard once.