SENIOR staff at Southampton Institute's prestigious Millais Gallery have axed a controversial artwork from an exhibition on terrorism after fears it would cause offence.

The artwork, entitled Someone Else's Everyday Reality, shows a training video for terror group Al-Qaida - the group responsible for the notorious September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center three years ago in which thousands died.

It was due to become part of the gallery's exhibition on terror and its effects entitled Art in the Age of Terrorism, which is due to open today.

But after seeing the video, staff at Southampton Institute and gallery bosses decided the work by Khaled Ramadan was unsuitable for display.

The video, which has never been exhibited before, is available on Internet sites and has already been shown on Arab television.

It shows Al-Qaida terrorists boasting about the attack on the World Trade Center and urging others to join their cause.

Graham Coulter-Smith, curator of the exhibition and researcher at Southampton Institute, told the Daily Echo that the video had not been edited in any way and did not constitute a work of art.

He added that after seeing the video, senior staff at Southampton Institute as well as members of the Millais Gallery's board had decided it should not be shown.

He said: "I felt that it was a very powerful work but I was also aware that it was extremely contentious. I showed it to a lot of people and a significant number of responses were negative.

"Because of that, we probably decided that it was not in a suitable condition to put into the show. The basic problem about it is that it is basically Al-Qaida propaganda following 9/11. That is something a lot of people find offensive."

The exhibition, which is due to run until January 29 before going on tour nationwide, shows artworks about terrorism and its effects on people.

It aims to explore various ways in which art can help explain the "zone of grey" that lies behind the word "terrorism" with video, performance art and installations. The works are accompanied by a collection of essays on the topic of art in the age of terrorism as well as commentaries by the artists.

Mr Coulter-Smith denied that withdrawing the controversial work was a form of censorship. He said: "This is simply raw footage and has not been manipulated by the artist in any way.

"The artist thought that by simply putting the video inside a gallery, it became art."

For a full preview of the Art in the Age of Terrorism exhibition, see page 44 of the What's On supplement inside today's Daily Echo.