Artist says ‘misunderstanding’ behind use of photos in Calgary-funded art piece

CALGARY — An artist has apologized for using photos of a comedian and others without their consent in his piece that was funded by the city of Calgary.

A series of giant photographs called “Snapshots” was installed along an underpass in the city’s southwest in 2015 at a cost of $20,000.

The city has a photo of the installation on its website.

Artist Derek Besant says he received “torn-out pages from a handout flyer” and that he thought they were already in the public domain.

Besant says he intended his project to “represent strangers that could be from anywhere, in any city.”

He is calling on the city to remove the artwork and says he’s sorry that “this is the result of my misunderstanding.”

Comedian Bisha Ali, who is based in England, says one of her friends recognized her in one of the photos.

Ali posted on social media that she was upset because neither she nor any of the other subjects gave their consent to the artist for their photos to be used. She says the photos were part of a promotion for a comedy show.

The city says it’s investigating.

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