Leesha McKenny of the Sydney Morning Herald talks to controversial figure John Ioannou about his experiences in the Aboriginal art industry.
Quoted from the article:
John Ioannou agrees he is one of the most controversial figures in indigenous art and his reputation has sometimes landed him in hot water.
Last year police interrupted his initiation into an indigenous community north of Alice Springs and threw him into a paddy wagon after a new arts centre co-ordinator had called them. She had heard of a white man without a permit in the remote community and said it was “Ioannou”.
“They handcuffed me, put me in the back of the van, drove me 20 metres across the road, basically just to humiliate me,” he says. “I was released on bail and given four hours to leave the communities ¦ The next day I went to another community with all the major elders and they came out there again and were told I was on sacred grounds and I was initiated and they couldn’t do anything about it.”
McKenny talks about the recent Four Corners program, Art for Art’s Sake, Ioannou’s work in remote Central Australia and his relationship with others working in the Aboriginal art industry. Beverly Knight from Alcaston Gallery is also asked to comment.