An art exhibit called “Queermuseum – Cartography of the Differences in Brazilian Art“, which premiered on August 15th at the Santander Cultural centre, in Porto Alegre was called off following the backlash that ensued on social media.

The exhibit, which was curated by Gaudêncio Fidelis, was originally scheduled to run until the 8th of October, but the cultural centre gave into the pressure that mounted online.

The selection was comprised of 270 works of art which contemplated subjects like gender and uniqueness. The works took on many different forms, and addressed sexual topics in various different ways: at times abstract, at times more explicit.

Among the 85 artists who participated were Adriana Varejão, Cândido Portinari, Ligia Clark, Yuri Firmesa and Leonilson.

Online activists accused the exhibit of the blasphemous use of religious symbols and, in certain cases, of stimulating paedophilia and zoophilia.

The conservative organization Movimento Brasil Livre (Free Brazil Movement) was one of the groups that amplified criticism directed toward the exhibit.

The cultural centre issued a statement saying: “We have listened to the complaints and we understand that some of the pieces in the ‘Queermuseum’ exhibit may have disrespected symbols, beliefs and people, which is not compatible with our worldview”.

The mayor of Porto Alegre, Nelson Marchezan Júnior (PSDB), shared the Santander Cultural centre’s clarification note on his Facebook page, and said that the exhibit “contained images of paedophilia and zoophilia”.