THE Mayor of Calgary has ordered an investigation into the integrity of a public art display after claims the famed photographer responsible for the $20,000 exhibition borrowed the pictures from the 2015 Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme.

Derek Michael Besant’s much admired Snapshots display featured 20 oversized blurry polaroid pictures, with select phrases over the faces, installed in a downtown underpass in the Canadian city.

The people featured were supposed to have been ordinary citizens from Calgary, and some reports suggest Besant had claimed to have taken them especially for the display.

Though first installed two years it was only over the weekend that a passing walker thought one of the pictures looked a bit familiar.

London based stand up comic Bisha K Ali was told by a an old penpal visiting the city, that her photo was being used in the public art.

When Ali was then sent a photo of the display she realised that not only was it her old Fringe publicity picture but that all the other people were comics who had played in Edinburgh in 2015, including Scots Ashley Storrie and Hardeep Singh Kohli.

Ali tweeted: “This appears to be a city funded installation. I know those photographs were taken by photographers who deserve their credit, at minimum.”

“That’s 100 per cent me. That’s my face,” Ali told Calgary’s Global News.

“They’re all kind of blurry, so it’s hard to make out, but some of them I instantly recognized as colleagues of mine, because I’m a comedian here in the UK and I know a bunch of those are press photographs of other comics,” she added.

Fellow comic Sofie Hagen said the image used in the underpass was her press photo but with some editing. The original had her in a pink T-shirt with a small white horse on her shoulder.

“This is the photo btw. They edited out the horse and put “I OWN NOTHING” over my face.. um, I obviously own a little horse,” she tweeted.

When asked about the installation on Monday night, Mayor Naheed Nenshi said that he’s asked to have it investigated.

“Obviously, as soon as I saw that, I flipped it to city administration and said, ‘Investigate, investigate, investigate!’ So we’ll see what comes out of that investigation,” Nenshi said.

He went on to say it’s “time to have a very thoughtful conversation about the goals and the tactics of the public art program.”

Storrie’s picture was taken by fellow comic Janey Godley. She told The National: “There are starving artists everywhere - to use a old fringe brochure as a source of faces for photos is beyond me - do the people of Calgary not have faces?

“How hard was it for him to just take photos? Give the cash to authentic artists”

Besant, who was in the capital in 2015 for the Edinburgh Art Festival, has been approached for comment.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe has also been asked to comment.