Following uproar of criticism on social media, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, MFA cancelled an event that protesters labelled racist and culturally insensitive.
Museum officials announced that they would cancel “Kimono Wednesdays,” which was originally scheduled to run until July 29.
Every week, visitors were encouraged to “channel your inner Camille Monet” by posing in front of Claude Monet’s “La Japonaise,” while trying on a replica of the kimono Monet’s wife, Camille, wears in the painting.
Protesters quickly labelled this event as racist, saying it propagated racial stereotypes and encouraged cultural appropriation.
Some stood with signs next to visitors who tried on the kimono.
“It’s not racist if you looks cute & exotic in it besides the MFA supports this!” one sign read.
Amnes Siyuan, one of the protest’s organisers, said: “A bunch of people tried to prove that they were not racist. That was not the point. We wanted to talk about why this event is cultural appropriation.”
Christiana Wang, another protester, said Asian Americans tend to be under-represented and are forced into certain categories, such as the geisha or the quiet student.
The museum initially continued the event, releasing an internal memo to their staff that defended the attraction.
“We don’t think this is racist,” the memo states. But the event was eventually cancelled. Recently, the MFA released a statement on their website in which they “apologise for offending any visitors.”
The kimono will still be on display in front of the painting until the end of the month for visitors “to touch and engage with,” but they will not have the option to try it on.
MFA Deputy Director Katie Getchell said the museum decided to follow the concerns of the community but it was common for the museum to have exhibits where visitors interact with artifacts.
“We wanted people to engage with the painting,” Getchell said. “It was a way to help them understand the painting, the artist’s choices and the time. We never meant to be offensive.”
There was considerable outrage on social media.

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