Naked Girl 6, Cover Art Magazine
Posted by iBlog on July 6, 2008
THE NSW government will refer a magazine featuring a naked child on the cover to the Australian Classification board.
Art Monthly Australia magazine sparked fresh controversy over naked images of children by publishing an image of a six-year-old girl on its cover to protest against the recent furore over similar pictures by artist Bill Henson.
NSW police seized a number of Mr Henson’s photographs featuring near-naked or naked children in recent months, but were returned to a Sydney art gallery without charges being laid.
The July edition of Art Monthly Australia published the cover image in protest at the “hysteria” over Mr Henson’s work.
It also includes several provocative photos of children posing naked in adult jewellery as well as naked teenage girls.
NSW community services minister Kevin Greene said the images had been inappropriately hijacked for political mileage.
“I will refer this to the ACB tomorrow, and the community also should let (the Board) know what they think,” Mr Greene told reporters in Sydney.
Opposition Leader Barry O’Farrell labelled the publication a “provocative publicity stunt” and called for a review of Arts Council’s funding for the magazine.
He said the average parent faced strict regulation of photographing their children at school events, and would be frustrated by the actions of the magazine.
“I understand they are in receipt of funding from the Arts Council and I assume there are procedures where that can be reviewed by Mr Rudd and his ministers,” Mr O’Farrell said.
“I notice (Premier) Morris Iemma hasn’t ruled them out receiving state government funds in the future.
“The public are furious about the double standards, I think taxpayers are angry when they see funds used in this way and to review it, I think, would be sensible.”
In the editorial, Maurice O’Riordan said he chose the 2003 picture of the young girl in the “hope of restoring some dignity to the debate” and to “validate nudity and childhood as subjects for art”.
The image, taken by Melbourne-based Polixeni Papapetrou, is believed to be her own daughter.
Mr O’Riordan, who does not have children of his own, told The Sunday Telegraph he did not care if it stirred community complaint.
“I believe the image is of a six-year-old girl,” he said.
“Maybe this is bold, but I don’t see the need to give in to that sort of hysteria or the prospect of complaint.
“I couldn’t really understand the furore.”
The artist, Ms Papapetrou, said she supports the use of her work for the magazine’s cover.
“We need to be clever enough to distinguish art from other types of images, otherwise we live in danger of eradicating any image of childhood in this culture for future generations to see.”
Art Monthly Australia receives more than $50,000 in funding from the Federal Government’s Council for the Arts and lists the New South Wales Ministry for the Arts under sponsors and partner. The State Government has issued grants to the magazine in previous years.
Cheap, sick stunt
NSW Premier Morris Iemma immediately threatened towithdraw future funding after he was contacted about the images yesterday.
“Images of this kind are distasteful, exploitative of children – a cheap, sick stunt at the expense of a young child,” he said.
“We’ve now reached a sad point where some people think naked kids can boost their sales and get them a headline. We will have no role in funding them while they use images that exploit children.”
More than 5000 copies of the magazine have been distributed across Australia. The magazine also includes images by Bill Henson.
In May, police raided the Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery in Paddington, confiscating several images by Henson including the photographs of a naked 13-year-old girl.
The photos sparked major national debate and angered several organisations, including child-welfare groups, with Premier Morris Iemma labelling the works “offensive and disgusting”.
Mr Henson was cleared of any wrongdoing following a police investigation.
A spokeswoman for the Australia Council yesterday defended their decision to help fund the magazine. She said the Council regarded Mr Henson as one of the country’s premier artists.
-With the Sunday Telegraph, AAP