FREE AS A BIRD is an important work to me, because of its empowering message. It opened up many discussions about hypocrisy in gender equality.
ARTISTIC CENSORSHIP – In June 2015 my work FREE AS A BIRD was banned by North East Scotland College (NESCOL) in Aberdeen where I was studying Art and Design as a mature student. The piece was due to be shown at an exhibition of students’ work but senior college management issued an instruction to staff that this artwork was not to be shown under any circumstances – not even as a cencored version.
I found this absolutely incredible, because the artwork is very clearly aimed at promoting gender equality. I feel that banning it from the show is an insult to the women who took part in this project as well as to other people who supported me in it, myself, and ultimately everyone who believes in gender equality and artistic freedom. Furthermore it is condescending because the College has decided that the public is not capable of coping with what they consider to be ‘challenging’ artwork.
The ban was covered in the local media by Aberdeen Voice Online Magazine
‘North East Scotland College Censors Student’s Artwork’
and Press and Journal Newspaper
‘Aberdeen artist blasts college after topless women are BANNED from work of art’

The artwork and its story subsequently also became the subject of an academic article by Art Historians Dr. Amy Bryzgel and Dr. Fern Insh of Aberdeen University, who discuss FREE AS A BIRD in the context of North American, Scottish and British feminist art in
‘Bibo Keeley and the Inappropriate Art of Feminism’
Bibo Keeley FREE AS A BIRD exhibition opening
Unveiling of the previously banned artwork FREE AS A BIRD by Bibo Keeley at BrewDog Aberdeen (22 October 2015)

In October 2015, FREE AS A BIRD was exhibited for the first time, at Aberdeen’s BrewDog Bar, just along the road from the College. I spoke about the background of my work and unveiled it to the public. Suzanne Kelly, who writes for the Aberdeen Voice, talked about NESCOL’s response to her journalistic investigation of the ban.

This video shows the unveiling of the artwork and the positive atmosphere at the event.

Bibo Keeley FREE AS A BIRD© by Bibo Keeley

Women’s breasts are not indecent – sexist opinions are.
Misogynistic behaviour is discrimination. Making women cover-up is oppression.
Selective Gender Equality is hypocrisy.

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