A Cross-party Committee raised serious concerns tonight about the ‘inadequate’ process undertaken when a sculpture by the British Modernist artist Henry Moore was put up for auction by the council. Tower Hamlets culturally deficient Mayor, Lutfur Rahman has tonight defied over one and a half thousand petitioners who have called on him not to sell the Henry Moore Sculpture, Draped Seated Woman. At tonight’s Cabinet meeting the Mayor refused to withdraw his decision to put the much loved piece up for auction, even though a cross party scrutiny committee had found real flaws in the process undertaken to draw up the report.
In the report the Councillors note that no real alternatives had been considered and that the Mayor’s clear focus was to sell the sculpture without care for the consequences or other viable options. At tonight’s Cabinet meeting the Mayor dismissed changing his decision out of hand without even listening to the concerns of residents who had attended or the cross-party committee which was there to present their report.
Olympic Opening Ceremony architect Danny Boyle was among a number of high profile signatories on a recent letter opposing the sale of the sculpture.Tower Hamlets Labour’s Spokesperson for Culture and Heritage , Cllr Denise Jones, said: “Tonight’s decision shows how closed minded the Mayor is. Not only did he refuse to even consider the alternative options for hosting the sculpture, but he announced his decision to sell before hearing from any residents or councillors.
“The sale of Old Flo is a subject which has elicited great public and media interest. It is only right that the Mayor listen to the different views and make a decision when in command of all the facts, he failed to do this tonight. Instead he refused to listen and sent Flo to auction without a care in the world for residents views.”
Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman said: “It is with considerable regret that I make this decision but I have a duty to ensure residents do not suffer from the brunt of the horrendous cuts being imposed on us.”
Labour MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, Rushanara Ali MP, said: “I am extremely disappointed at the Mayor of Tower Hamlets’ decision to auction off this masterpiece. The sculpture belongs to the people of Tower Hamlets and should remain in public ownership. Draped Seated Woman is a wonderful piece of public art that should be available for everyone to enjoy as Henry Moore intended it. The Mayor is going against the desires of the over 1,500 hundred people who have signed the petition in just a few days. This is a betrayal of the East End’s working class heritage. The sale will only make a small contribution to the Council’s overall budget and raises serious concerns about the Mayor’s wasteful use of public money to fund his extravagant lifestyle.”
The Overview and Scrutiny Committee Report on the sale of the Draped Seated Woman sculpture is available at: See Here
Labour’s petition to save the sculpture has had over 1,500 signatures in 5 days: Read Here
The open letter against the sale of Old Flo and signed by Danny Boyle, film director and produce. Richard Calvocoressi, director, Henry Moore Foundation; Nicholas Serota, director, Tate, as well as others, is available Read Here
“Lutfur Rahman is a charlatan who will be defeated at the next election for his lack of respect for his constituents”; stated a member of the public, who attended the meeting. “This is the end for public culture in the borough”; added a woman, wiping away a tear, as she left the public meeting in disgust.