Santiago Sierra's work in Australia canceled for creating controversy with aborigines

Sydney (Australia), March 25 (EFE) .- An Australian festival suspended the presentation of a work by Spanish artist Santiago Sierra that showed a British flag dipped in the blood of aborigines after creating controversy for being considered traumatizing for the descendants of the inhabitants primitive from Australia.

The organizers of the Dark Mofo art festival, to be held in the second half of June on the Australian island of Tasmania, had asked last week, on behalf of Santiago Sierra, blood donations from one person from each territory colonized by the British .

The call caused various reactions on social media, including that of Claire Coleman, an Aboriginal writer, who said on Twitter that "a colonizing artist who tries to produce art with the blood of colonized people is abusive, re-colonizing and re traumatizing. The idea is disgusting and terrible and should not be considered. "

"Dark Mofo, look around you, there is already too much blood on everything the light touches. This is out of place," Salvadoran-Australian David Mejia-Canales, one of Aboriginal Senator Lidian's advisers, said in a tweet. Thorpe.

Indigenous Australians, who represent just over 3 percent of the oceanic country's 25 million people, are currently fighting for their rights and against the large number of deaths among themselves in the custody of the authorities.

After centuries of systematic abuses suffered since the British Royal Navy Captain James Cook declared the territory Terra Nullius (no man's land) upon his arrival in 1770, the indigenous people continue to suffer the traumas of the dispossession of their lands and the theft of the children of their families that was carried out as part of a policy applied during the 20th century to assimilate them.


As a result of the avalanche of criticism and after having defended Sierra's proposal, the creative director of this festival, Leigh Carmichael, announced on Facebook that this presentation was being canceled "in response to the community", while apologizing "to all the First Nations peoples for the pain caused. "

In a statement in English, Sierra complained about the coverage of media such as the newspaper The Australian, of Rupert Murdoch's News group, for inciting a "public lynching" and taking his statements out of context to a "superficial and spectacular" plane.

"They left us without a voice, without the ability to explain and defend our work," complained the Spanish artist.

Sierra pointed out that, although criticism in Australia was linked to the indigenous people of the oceanic country, it was not the central element of his work, which focused on the damage caused by British colonization on the five continents.

"The objective of this work is simple and clear, it is a work against colonialism and a denunciation of the pain and destruction that it has caused in history among indigenous populations, devastating entire cultures and civilizations," argued the artist. .

For his part, Australian artist Mike Parr, who has participated regularly in Dark Mofo, said that the festival should be "condemned" for its "cowardice and lack of leadership" in canceling Sierra's project, according to the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper. .

"Santiago Sierra is a political artist of deep integrity. He is a great contemporary artist in my opinion," Parr remarked.


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