British museum puts warning labels on landscape paintings after complaint that countrysides are racist and invoke 'dark nationalistic' feelings

A British museum backed by Cambridge University replaced the signage for its landscape paintings and began putting warning labels on them over fears they could invoke racist and "dark nationalistic" feelings, a project funded by taxpayer dollars. Its director has rejected claims that the museum has gone "woke."

As the Fitzwilliam Museum reopened in mid-March, a sign for its "Nature" themed section read: 

“Landscape paintings were also always entangled with national identity.

“The countryside was seen as a direct link to the past, and therefore a true reflection of the essence of a nation.

“Paintings showing rolling English hills or lush French fields reinforced loyalty and pride towards a homeland.

“The darker side of evoking this nationalist feeling is the implication that only those with a historical tie to the land have a right to belong.”

The Telegraph reports that the change of signage was spurred by a complaint filed by charity umbrella group Wildlife and Countryside Link to MPs in an all-party parliamentary group for Race and Community claiming the British countryside was seen as a "racist colonial" space for whites.

The report said that the British countryside has been influenced by "racist colonial legacies" which have created an environment some fear is “dominated by white people."

It also claimed Britain's green spaces were perceived to be influenced by “white British cultural values”, and that the idea of such a “white space” prevents people of color from enjoying the outdoors.

Luke Syson, director of the museum, pushed back on claims that the transition was not "woke" or "radical chic."

“I would love to think that there’s a way of telling these larger, more inclusive histories that doesn’t feel as if it requires a push-back from those who try to suggest that any interest at all in [this work is] what would now be called ‘woke’,” he's said.

He had previously told the Guardian: "Being inclusive and representative shouldn’t be controversial; it should be enriching. We should all welcome the opportunities to understand each other better through the eyes of great makers and artists.”

Former Home Secretary Suella Braverman responded publicly that "no, the countryside is not racist."

Image: Title: museum constable
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