Former headteacher shocked by wholefood giant, Jordan’s, last minute decision to pull out of ‘challenging’ painting exhibition

Jordans, the wholefood giant, have slapped a banning order on the painting exhibition at Pensthorpe Natural Park of former Norfolk head teacher Terri Broughton – because they were ‘too challenging’.

The ban, almost six months after the exhibition had been booked, came when members of the Jordan family, who own Pensthorpe, saw images of Mrs Broughton’s large oil paintings of children wearing gas masks and thought them too psychologically challenging, particularly for children.

Mrs Broughton, who has dedicated much of her life to supporting the development of children, was shocked and when the Pensthorpe managers contacted her to say they were pulling the exhibition, scheduled for 7-14 December, believing it to be too hot to handle. She is now looking for a gallery prepared to take on work

The bombshell comes after six months of intensive preparation for this, her first painting exhibition, which included forking out for setting up a website, having roadside banners produced and cards printed for sale during the exhibition.

Mrs Broughton, the former Headteacher at the Kings Lynn Academy, has a first-class honours degree in ceramics and has spent much of her life championing the arts in schools here in UK and in Kenya and Nepal.

Indeed she was awarded a Tate Modern prize for her Masters Degree project in which she pioneered the questioning and challenging of first year A Level Art students in Britain about their artistic values. It was a project that turned art education on its head but has since been incorporated into the National Curriculum.

The project transformed the ‘A’ level art curriculum from one that required students to produce art works that focussed on the historical development of art to one that focussed on personal development, using the arts as a means of exploration. The shift in emphasis opened the floodgates to creative development of young minds across all year groups.

Mrs Broughton is currently completing an intensive year-long oil painting diploma at the internationally acclaimed Norfolk Painting School, under the critical eye of course director Martin Kinnear, who is acknowledged as one of Britains most exciting and accomplished contemporary painters.

She said: The ban came as a total shock to me. I did warn Pensthorpe at the very beginning that my paintings were not of the usual birds and landscapes. They never asked to see a sample of my work. Had they done so, they could have made a decision to decline my exhibition from the start.

“It is the job of an artist to challenge and shed light on the human condition and it is not acceptable to pull the exhibition at this late stage.

“After a series of internal meetings, the Pensthorpe management backtracked, offering to exhibit my paintings mid-week, but not at the weekend, when most people would be visiting the Park. This was also on the condition that I placed a notice outside saying that children were not to go in and it was not for people of a nervous disposition.  This was not part of the original agreement and was a non-starter because the hundreds of people I had invited, work during the week and were making plans to come at the weekend.

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