News

The photo deemed too controversial for an art festival

Visually impaired artist Dennis Mealor is outraged his artwork was removed from the Bundaberg Arts Festival because it portrays a nude woman.
Visually impaired artist Dennis Mealor is outraged his artwork was removed from the Bundaberg Arts Festival because it portrays a nude woman.

A VISION-IMPAIRED artist feels his "wings have been clipped" after his photographic entry of a naked, mature-aged woman was withdrawn from the Bundaberg Arts Festival for being too controversial.

Visually impaired artist Dennis Mealor is outraged his artwork was removed from the Bundaberg Arts Festival because it portrays a nude woman.
Visually impaired artist Dennis Mealor is outraged his artwork was removed from the Bundaberg Arts Festival because it portrays a nude woman.

"The model turned up as well to see herself and it wasn't there," he said.

Mr Mealor approached the Bundaberg Arts Festival Association President, Wendy Francis, who told him the full-frontal nudity displayed in the photo was inappropriate and the committee decided to withdraw the piece.

"I think the committee was wrong in this case," he said.

The photo in question, titled Viva Italia, after model Cara Clarke's Italian heritage, featured the naked woman standing in a doorway at the Artist in Residence room at the Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery.

"Twenty five years ago I was going to the Arts Festival and there were full-frontal photos then; they were done by a neighbour of mine," Mr Mealor said.

"It blew my socks off when they withdrew it."

The shocked artist said he did not understand why he had not been told before the festival opening why his work had been pulled.

"Nudity in art has been here for thousands of years," he said.

"Every legitimate art gallery in Australia would be fine with it."

Mr Mealor said it was a disappointing end to what is looking to be his last Bundaberg Arts Festival.

"I'm planning on leaving Bundaberg at some point and now it's kind of not really a good ending," he said.

Mrs Francis told the NewsMail she would not comment on the incident because she felt there had not been enough media coverage given to the weekend's festival.

The NewsMail is one of the Crush Festival's sponsors.

"We have the right to withdraw any piece entered," she said.

"Dennis was given a full explanation."

Do you think the photo should have been withdrawn from the festival?

This poll ended on 03 October 2013.

Yes, I agree with the decision - 20%

No way, it's just art - 79%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Topics:  art bundaberg arts festival photography



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