27/Aug/2014 - Last News Update: 19:02

Rebecca Aylward: Eisteddfod covers up picture of killer

Category: Wales

Published: 9th Aug 2012 15:51:25

Officials at Wales' premier cultural festival have covered up paintings of a teenage murderer and the girl he killed after protests from her mother.

The artwork at the National Eisteddfod showed Joshua Davies and his 15-year-old victim, Rebecca Aylward.

The eisteddfod said it had not been aware of their identities when the pictures were submitted.

Rebecca's mother, Sonia Oatley, of Maesteg, says she is "disgusted and appalled" and wants the art destroyed.

They should know exactly what each piece of art is about and question and look into it and at least contact anyone who might be affected by it first”

She has written a letter to the eisteddfod's chief executive, Elfed Roberts, and the organisers.

She told BBC Wales: "I can't believe how insensitive the organisers have been.

"How could they possibly not know what the images were of? I'm absolutely disgusted and appalled and I will never support the eisteddfod again."

Mrs Oatley had been due to visit the eisteddfod at Llandow, Vale of Glamorgan, on Thursday and had been unaware of the paintings.

She said there had been no warning on the marquee about some of the images being exhibited.

"I take my children to the eisteddfod, I have always supported it. As do a lot of other members of my family and Rebecca's friends," she added.

She said she was particularly upset that one of the portraits of Davies had the word "cariad" written on it, which means love in Welsh.

"If they had put the words 'evil' or 'monster' or something like that I could kind of understand it," she told BBC Wales.

"You know, people would know what he is then. But when you write 'cariad', that's a different case."

She felt "physically sick" after looking at the portrait of her daughter.

Her daughter - who has previously been referred to as Rebecca Aylward, and is named as Rebecca Oatley, her mother's surname, in Wales Online - was killed in woods in Aberkenfig, in Bridgend county, in October 2010.

Davies was 16 when he was found guilty of her murder in July 2011.

The paintings were in a series of 18 works called "People I know, people I used to know and people I'd rather not know" by artist David Rees Davies for an exhibition in the art tent, Y Lle Celf.

The eisteddfod said in a statement: "During this week we have been made aware that four of these images relate to a local murder in Bridgend.

"Following a discussion with the family through their local Member of Parliament [Huw Irranca-Davies] and the artist, the four images were covered and a sign erected in Y Lle Celf to explain the situation."

Mrs Oatley said officials "should know exactly what each piece of art is about and question and look into it and at least contact anyone who might be affected by it first".

In a statement, the artist said his installation was "deliberately ambiguous," adding that "no-one never really knows anyone sometimes, not even your family, your friends or your next door neighbour".

Mr Irranca-Davies welcomed the decision to cover the pictures, but told Wales Online it was of "scant consolation to those affected".

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BBC News, 2012. Rebecca Aylward: Eisteddfod covers up picture of killer [Online] (Updated 9th Aug 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1445379/Rebecca-Aylward-Eisteddfod-covers-up-picture-of-killer [Accessed 27th Aug 2014]

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