Young Fathers
Young Fathers pose in the winners room at the Barclaycard Mercury Prize in 2014 Getty

Artwork produced by Mercury Prize winning band Young Fathers was temporarily taken offline after it was "hijacked" by the far-right, who believed it was racist.

The Edinburgh band was commission by the National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh and London to produce a short movie as part of a series examining self-portraiture and identity.

In the four-minute film, one of the members of Young Fathers Kayus Bankole poses inside the portrait gallery in Edinburgh around paintings of "white powerful, rich" men seen hung with gold frames. The video contains a voiceover that asks because why he does not see any black people inside the gallery.

He continues: "Am I meant to admire the brushworks and the colours and the historical context without considering how you came to be here, and the people who look like me aren't?"

The video goes on to described those seen in the paintings as "dead, random white dudes" who come from a "long line of inbred spawn, soon to die out themselves".

The work was described as exploring issues surrounding "privilege and inequality and conventions of historic portraiture" and featured online at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

However, the video and the group themselves became the victim of racist backlash who accused the work of being "anti-white".

As well as Young Fathers member Alloysius Massaquoi receiving racists comments on his Facebook page, the video was also described as "yet another example of the far left...attempting to either re-write or taint western history merely because the most influential figures were white men" by prominent alt-right commentator Paul Joseph Wright, aka Prison Planet.

The backlash resulted in the band requesting the gallery remove the video form YouTube and from their sites, but it was retired soon after. The group have now condemned those who criticised the video as attempting to "create hatred and division amongst us".

young fathers
The group dismissed accusations the movie is “anti-white” propaganda.

The band added in a statement: "This film challenges the fact that the walls of the gallery overwhelmingly present the rich, privileged, ruling classes of the past.

"Where are the 'ordinary' people? Why are lords and ladies more important than firemen and women, than school teachers or doctors?

"In the film, the protagonist affirms his own worth, as a living man against the dead aristocracy in the pictures he's looking at.

"Unfortunately, the meaning of the film has been purposefully misinterpreted by elements of the Far Right who have targeted the galleries and Young Fathers, saying the film is 'anti-white' when it's clearly 'anti-privilege'.

"It's amazing that the National Portrait Gallery commissioned a film like this, that they would take a chance, and it's a shame that it's was hijacked by people with ulterior motives, to create hatred and division amongst us."

A spokesperson for the National Galleries of Scotland added: "The Young Fathers online video, featuring music, dance and their commentary was made as part of a contemporary response to themes about male representation explored in the exhibition Looking Good at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

"The views expressed by the band relate to issues around privilege and inequality and conventions of historic portraiture and its display.

"At the request of the band it was temporarily removed from YouTube and the galleries' websites today, and has now been re-instated."

Young Fathers, made up of Bankole, Massaquoi, and Graham "G" Hastings, rose to fame in 2014 after their debut album Dead won the prestigious Mercury Prize.