In recent months, European football has been battling the problem of racism. Several incidents where the crowd has indulged in openly racist acts against non-white players have taken place. Keeping this in view, Italian Serie A decided to issue a poster urging people to desist from such acts. However, the poster created for this purpose has landed in controversy itself.
The poster in question has the faces of three monkeys, each outlined with different colours. This composition, known as a Triptych is the creation of an artist by the name of Simone Fugazzotto. The use of primates in his work is very common. Fugazzotto defended his creation by arguing that the work is all about depicting the underlying unity of all humans.
"The concept, the aesthetics, the technical realisation, even if very important, come later. With this Triptych I tried to tell this, that we are complex and fascinating creatures, that we can be sad or happy, Catholics, Muslims or Buddhists, but that, after all, what determines who we are are our actions, not the colour of the skin."
However, not everyone is convinced and adverse reactions to the work have come from some of the top teams in the league. Two of the most prominent clubs tweeted their disapproval of the poster.
AS Roma wrote on their official account: "AS Roma was very surprised to see what appears to be an anti-racist campaign from Serie A featuring painted monkeys on social media today. We understand the league wants to tackle racism but we don't believe this is the right way to do it."
AC Milan's Twitter account shared a picture of the poster and commented: "Art can be powerful, but we strongly disagree with the use of monkeys as images in the fight against racism and were surprised by the total lack of consultation."
The official statement made by the league doesn't sound satisfactory. "The Triptych, composed of three side-by-side paintings depicting monkeys, aims to spread the values of integration, multiculturalism and brotherhood."
Whatever may be the intention of the painter of the poster, Italian Serie A once again stands accused of showing a lack of sensitivity. Rather than solving the problem, the poster has further exacerbated the problem.