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Britain’s National Gallery renames 19th-century painting 'Degas Russian Dancers' to 'Ukrainian dancers'

The original name of the painting was cancelled after artist and activist Mariam Naiem, who is of Ukrainian descent, wrote letters to a number of Western art museums that carried works from the series.

Britain’s National Gallery renames 19th-century painting 'Degas Russian Dancers' to 'Ukrainian dancers'
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The British National Gallery has changed the name of a 19th-century painting by French impressionist Edgar Degas called “Russian Dancers” to “Ukrainian Dancers” because of the ongoing war in Ukraine.

The original name of the painting was cancelled after artist and activist Mariam Naiem, who is of Ukrainian descent, wrote letters to a number of Western art museums that carried works from the series.

Summit News described how Naiem felt her success in forcing the gallery to fold as a “micro victory.” In a statement, the British National Gallery confessed that the change was due to the public pressure campaign and was not related to any new information surrounding Degas' work.

A spokesperson told The Guardian “The title of this painting has been an ongoing point of discussion for many years and is covered in scholarly literature; however, there has been an increased focus on it over the past month due to the current situation so therefore we felt it was an appropriate moment to update the painting’s title to better reflect the subject of the painting.”

This isn't a new trend, the University of Milano-Bicocca attempted to cancel a teaching course about the 19th-century writer Fyodor Dostoevsky.

Russian pianist Alexander Malofee was also cancelled from performing for the Montreal Symphony Orchestra after complaints by Ukrainians, while chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic Valery Gergiev faced similar scrutiny over failing to denounce Vladimir Putin.

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