AN idiotic artist sparked outrage yesterday after being given £4,000 of taxpayers’ cash to pretend to be a dead soldier.
Mark McGowan, 37, was given the grant to lie on the ground in a city centre and pose as a slaughtered British squaddie for a week.
His sickening “exhibit” comes just days after Remembrance Sunday ? and despite the continuing loss of British lives in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Mr McGowan caused further anger by donning the beret of the Redcaps ? British military policeman who have suffered large losses in Iraq.
The performance, called Dead Soldier, is funded by the Arts Council. It aims to spend a staggering £1.1billion of public money on art in the next two years.
Mr McGowan’s stunt, in Birmingham, started yesterday and will continue until November 20.
The artist, of Peckham, South London, said: “I wanted to remind people that there is still a war in Iraq where people die.
“This piece of art is meant to be provocative. I’m only being paid £4,000. That’s not a lot to lie still in a street for a week.”
He added: “A woman came up to me and said her son is in Afghanistan and she can’t stop crying. Other people have shouted ?get up you idiot’ But I’m here to provoke a reaction.”
Samantha Roberts, whose husband Sgt Steve Roberts, 33, died in Iraq after giving up his body armour, said: “It’s bad taste. It is pathetic and he sounds like a class-A stupid bugger.”
Local MP John Hemming said: “To pretend to be a dead soldier days after four more soldiers died in Iraq is a disgrace. It is upsetting to people who have lost loved-ones. This man should have cancelled this ?art’ as a mark of respect."