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In a worrying escalation

By Thumper - 2 June 2008 53

In a worrying escalation of the Hensen issue, the Canberra Times is reporting that the Canberra Centre has ordered the removal of an exhibition of students’ life drawings, sparking further concern that art censorship is spiralling out of control.

The seven drawings, created by Dickson College Year 11 and 12 students, were part of an annual exhibition at the centre, celebrating Public Education Week but organisers were ”amazed” when Canberra Centre staff asked them to remove the nude drawings within three hours of displaying them last month.

This took place four days before NSW Police seized Bill Henson’s photographs from a Sydney gallery, inflaming debate over what constituted art.

What next? Community book burning?

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53 Responses to
In a worrying escalation
astrojax 7:53 pm 02 Jun 08

and i’ve gone from being a mere picketer to being an official rabble rouser – thank you god.

sepi 7:48 pm 02 Jun 08

I honestly think the covers of mags like Ralph etc, that are on show to all in every newsagent are more offensive, and more harmful to impressionable youth than Henson’s photos, which are also only on view in galleries, where people can choose to view them, or not.

Last week in the news there was a story on a 16 year old fashion model appearing topless in various fashion shoots – I think this is worse than Henson’s photos too.

We are turning into America – our priorities are getting all messed up.

astrojax 7:40 pm 02 Jun 08

for fark’s sake, ava, “If censorship means protecting those that are underage from harm I am all for it.

what ‘harm’? the real harm is having our kids growing up somehow treating normal healthy naked bodies as something evil, reviled and for scorn. get a life.

harm, protect our kids… this debate s so full of meaningless platitudes…

You cant be nonconfo 6:38 pm 02 Jun 08

In the words of Catherine Tate: what a f&cking liberty! So it’s ok for the Canberra Centre to parade female flesh when it is in aid of selling jeans, but not in the name of artistic endeavour???

For the uninitiated, I’m talking about those two ridiculous posters of the girl with the jeans hanging off her arse right near the Bunda St pedestrian crossing – I pass these half a dozen times a day and never fail to be amazed at the lengths people will go to to make a link between their product and s*x. Surely if the jeans are that great, she’d want to keep them on, not rip them off?

As for the Canberra Centre management, they need to seriously consider the message they send by banning nude art and allowing similarly-revealing advertising – cos at the moment it looks like they’re saying nudity is only ok if there’s commercial gain involved!

Pandy 6:36 pm 02 Jun 08

I get very offended when I see the ads in the shop window of the bra shop. Very offended.

el 6:23 pm 02 Jun 08

Absolutely pathetic.

sepi 6:13 pm 02 Jun 08

This one was the Canberra Centre manager’s decision, not the police.

Still stupid.

johnny_the_knife 6:12 pm 02 Jun 08

The Canberra Centre is a commercial trading space with an obligation to it’s tenants to create a welcoming space which will attract potential customers. It is not an art gallery.

The management of the Canberra Centre would be listening to/attempting to anticipate and head off any complaints from shoppers. It is therefore unsurprising that anything people may consider controversial/confronting or find offensive would be removed promptly (unless there is potential for commercial gain).

A commercial art gallery makes it’s money by selling art works and will generally tolerate confronting and/or controversial works if they consider it likely they will be salable.

Skidbladnir 6:09 pm 02 Jun 08


I know two comunity books worth burning…
One is called “Thats Where I Met My Wife: The story of the first public swimming pool in the National Capital”, the other is the book that came out about the Januray 18 bushfires.

Skidbladnir 6:07 pm 02 Jun 08

The Artists Shed in QBN does a nude show every so often, and they haven’t been raided.

Why does the Canberra-Centre get to be part of an orchestrated media beat-up and build their profile, but the Artists Shed doesn’t?
Did anybody ask the models if they wanted to be taken down?
Can we get a list of the names of the local people who are deemed to perverse to be viewed?

And anybody who has ever done any form of life drawing or posing can confirm the subjects really do get treated fairly well by the session groups.

sepi 6:03 pm 02 Jun 08

This is a joke. The images were mostly back type views – no genitals and they were charcoal and chalk drawings.

As pointed out by the canberra times, nude backsides seem to be fine in sexy jeans ads etc, which are tolerated in the canberra centre.

Deadmandrinking 5:58 pm 02 Jun 08

The henson issue is debatable, but this is just bullsh-t.

hax 5:50 pm 02 Jun 08

What we need is balance. What we get are extremists.

The media only ever seems to push the extreme views, making everything a one or the other debate. Not helpful when something might just need a slight change around the edges.

Apparently our choices are “ban all nudity everywhere” or “anything goes” – or thats how it seems anyway, so stupid shit starts happening.


fnaah 5:01 pm 02 Jun 08

If this happened before the Hensen thing, the only escalation I see here is in the level of hype.

Ava 4:53 pm 02 Jun 08

The removal of the paintings does seem wrong, but I would not draw a parallel between those paintings and the “artistic” photography of underage nudity. If censorship means protecting those that are underage from harm I am all for it.

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