“We are sorry”: Dark Mofo pulls the plug on insensitive artwork
24.03.2021

“We are sorry”: Dark Mofo pulls the plug on insensitive artwork

Photo by Dark Mofo/Jesse Hunniford

The festival has issued an apology for “any hurt that has been caused” by the proposed project.

After facing backlash this week for issuing a callout for First Nations people to donate their blood for an artwork which would see the Union Jack immersed in the blood of its colonised territories, Dark Mofo has pulled the proposed piece from this year’s festival and issued an apology for “any hurt that has been caused” by the project.

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The artwork, by Spanish artist Santiago Sierra, was met with criticism for its cultural insensitivity, sparking calls to boycott the festival.

“Self-expression is a fundamental human right, and we support artists to make and present work regardless of their nationality or cultural background,” said Dark Mofo’s Creative Director Leigh Carmichael in defence of the project, declaring it would go ahead despite pleas from the public to scrap it.

However, just hours later, Carmichael announced the piece would not be going ahead and issued an apology.

“We’ve heard the community’s response to Santiago Sierra’s Union Flag. In the end the hurt that will be caused by proceeding isn’t worth it,” he said.

“We made a mistake, and take full responsibility. The project will be cancelled.

“We apologise to all First Nations people for any hurt that has been caused. We are sorry.”

Despite agreeing to pull the project, the festival is still being slammed for what many believe is a “hollow gesture”.

A petition titled ‘Blak List Mona’ is now circulating Instagram calling for Dark Mofo, Mona and Mona Foma staff to undertake cultural awareness training, appoint First Peoples curators and commit to funding more artworks by Tasmanian Aboriginal artists.

 

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