Freedom of expression under threat

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Tamara Winikoff

Artists need the skills to defend their work against personal ideological crusades and political point scoring.

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With the latest raid by police of a gallery space in the respected Linden Contemporary Arts Centre in St Kilda, Melbourne, once again we are faced with an unedifying cultural containment struggle. Here is a young artist hauled up by the cops for cutting out and sticking together a montage of all sorts of stuff including images of human bodies and minds without their masking coverings. Laid bare in a new context, the densely overlaid complex of popular culture representations offer what the artist Paul Yore has described as a sickly sweet surface, very colourful and alluring but just beneath are symbolic ideas of a society of excess, spectacle, consumerism, frenzy and even violence.

The National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) has been vociferous in its  condemnation of the seizure of the works which form part of a larger exhibition entitled 'Like Mike Now What??' a homage to the late iconoclastic Australian artist Mike Brown who was known to ruffle feathers by challenging social norms.

About the author

Tamara Winikoff OAM is Executive Director of the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA).