The controversial landscape

The controversial landscape, originally uploaded by mxccuba.

Have been bothered and trying to cool it all week. Turns out, landscape is quite controversial. Who would have thought? The worst part is that I had to tell an artist “There’s nothing wrong with your work, but there’s something wrong with these Catholics.” And even worse, that apparently the gallery in question has their Indigenous Unit’s support. What the…? Aside from the institutionalised racism, the situation has spurred some new, more intense interpretations – it’s occurred to Damian that in the works he appears “Christ-like”. But quite frankly, I actually really resent having to have the conversation, it’s so elementary.

Extracts From <my email> of Date Mon, 31 May 2010:…this is concerning. Based on our conversation I understand that there are several issues, but in particular nudity and offensive racial slurs, coupled with an influx of new international residencies. But to be perfectly clear, to me it seems that X would like to censor an Indigenous artist because he’s an Indigenous artist producing work that reflects this experience, specifically racism?

(The artist’s) works are pivotal in this exhibition. Specifically: he’s the only Australian; they were specifically created for this exhibition and are a direct response to its premise; they link the idea of physical and psychological landscapes; while the nude self-portraits are classical in form, they refer to a contemporary political Australian landscape, including globalisation, colonialism and racism. Everyone has an experience of being called names; I find it quite difficult to imagine thinking and feeling anything but empathy in response to these works. I don’t believe these works or the discussions they may raise are something to fear, if anything they’re something… engage with…

I’m not in the business of censorship and presume that the institutions associated with the project, including… aren’t either… I believe the removal of (the artist’s) work is unethical and irresponsible. Particularly as, from a professional practice perspective, this stance does not take into account the posterity of the audience regardless of external pressures and sponsorship.

I fully support the suggestions/options you’ve provided X to date…. I’m happy to meet with X and discuss these issues in person. Furthermore, as we’re locals, X actually has an opportunity to have myself, (the artist), as well as … (an Indigenous architect…) to speak about the project at X.


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