The curator of an art show launched in response to the Jimmy Savile scandal insisted the late BBC presenter is innocent until proven guilty at the show’s opening last night.
Curator David West said the artwork, on display in the Bread and Butter Gallery on Upper Street, is not a comment on the truth of child abuse claims against Savile but a reaction to tabloid coverage of the allegations.
He said: “The exhibition isn’t commenting on whether the allegations are true or false. The media coverage has been a bit chaotic and we should all remember that he is innocent.”
Installations include a photo of a young girl revealing her uncovered backside with a picture of Jimmy Savile in the background, and a cartoon of Savile as Gargamel, the evil wizard from The Smurfs, chasing Smurfette.
The walls display press cuttings and interactive pieces, inviting the audience to write what they think of Savile and to highlight “possible evidence” with a black pen on pages of his autobiography.
Artist Katharine Fry, who attended the opening, didn’t know whether to come along to the exhibition when she first heard about it.
She said: “I thought it might be too soon. The exhibition is a strange antidote to the nauseating media coverage, which has gone from strange claim to strange claim, the latest of which is that he was a necrophile.
“I used to think Jimmy Savile was an eccentric guy who smoked cigars. I now have a retrospective squeamishness about him.”
Mr West said people had reacted positively to the show so far. The exhibition runs until 26 October and entry is free.