Black cowboy controversy at Guggeinheim, Bilbao

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There has been controversy this weekend on social media platforms TikTok and Instagram over paintings of a black cowboy at the Guggenheim, Bilbao. 

The paintings, by white, Basque Artist Gala Knorr, depict a black cowboy from various angles and are remarkably similar to still frames from a stop-motion film by “Blue” by Dayday, released in February of this year. The stills depict movie star Ezekiel Mitchell in a cowboy hat, looking backwards over his shoulder.

The controversy was sparked over whether Knorr’s paintings constituted a form of plagiarism. Art consultant Alexis Hyde’s video criticising Knorr for “trying to talk about erased Black history while she is actively erasing Black history”, was deleted by TikTok on the grounds of “bullying”. 

Knorr has since apologised for not crediting Dayday ( on instagram) before using their film as a reference for her paintings of a black cowboy. Dayday, a queer, Brooklyn based artist who works across multiple mediums and disciplines has not commented on the apology which New York art gallery Pablo’s Birthday gave in response to the controversial accusations of plagiarism. 

In the Guggenheim’s press release about the paintings, Knorr has been credited with revisiting “the history of the American West by reviving figures that may have played a prominent role in their day but have been forgotten in popular US culture”, as reported by

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Annie Dabb

From Newcastle originally, Annie is based in Manchester and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features. Got a story you want to share? Then get in touch at