STILL reeling from having his first Australian exhibition in 12 years cancelled at the last minute, Melbourne-based artist Cameron Hayes claims he is the victim of censorship by white gatekeepers of Aboriginal art.
On Wednesday, Hayes had been due to open his show The Incomplete History of Milikapiti, at Beverly Knight’s Alcaston Gallery in Fitzroy.
Comment by Jeremy Eccles:
Cameron Hayes’ efforts to criticise the changes caused by non-Indigenous intrusion into the Eden that might once have been Melville Island/the Tiwi Islands do seem a thoroughly reasonable subject for art. And it would seem that the Chair of Milikapiti art centre saw no reason to censor his work. But one would have to say that stuffed Pukumani Poles do appear to be a tasteless traducement of a deeply symbolic part of Tiwi ceremony; and the generic categorisation of Tiwi kids as “dog torturers’ is right over the top in my experience. But should we censor art because it shocks us? Did Alcaston take this action in fear of a trading backlash?