Australians howl at artist's pin-up children

Some Australians make a living taking photographs of naked children and selling them through dealers or over the internet, dpa reported.

Alone among them in putting his name to his work and getting it hung in public galleries is internationally acclaimed artist Bill Henson.

Henson now looks set to be lumped with those of lesser talent and be branded a pornographer. His dealers could find themselves in court, or even in prison.

Henson's troubles began last week when police raided a Sydney gallery and took away pictures that featured photographs of children aged 12 and 13 with no clothes on.

"Police are investigating this matter and it's likely that we will proceed to prosecution on the offence of publishing an indecent article under the Crimes Act," Superintendent Allan Sicard told reporters outside the Roslyn Oxley9 gallery.

Police want to speak to Henson, the parents of the 13-year-old featured full-frontal in the photos and the girl herself.

Henson has gone to ground. The owner of Roslyn Oxley9 is also avoiding the media. But members of the art establishment have rushed to defend Henson's high-priced snaps.

"They are breathtakingly beautiful, they are about the vulnerability of life," former National Gallery of Australia director Betty Churcher said. "How they could incite anything other than admiration I can't imagine."

But censorship, or what constitutes art, is not the issue. As Jim Baxendale wrote to his local paper, "the moral question at the centre of the Bill Henson censorship controversy is whether a 13-year-old person can give informed consent to being photographed naked and having her image reproduced for public viewing."

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has made up his mind on that one. "I find them absolutely revolting," he said of Henson's images. "Whatever the artistic view of the merits of that sort of stuff - frankly I don't think there are any - just allow kids to be kids."

Politicians of all stripes condemned Henson as a sleazebag and welcomed the police action.

Arts Minister Peter Garrett, who railed against censorship when he was lead singer of anti-establishment rock band Midnight Oil, sided with his new workmates. He said he couldn't comment on something that was under police investigation.

There have been threats to burn down the Roslyn Oxley9 gallery. At least one other public space has taken down Henson artworks for fear of inciting an attack.

The arts establishment hasn't helped its case by deriding Henson's critics as philistines. Gallery owner Tim Olsen said the police raid "puts Australia in the Dark Ages" and makes Australians an international laughing stock.

Rather than focus on the central issue - whether it's decent to invite the public to see photographs of a naked 13-year-old- Henson's supporters have pointed to the artistic merits of the images.

According to art critic Edmund Capon, Henson's snaps are "veritable symphonies of decadence and beauty, of squalor and opulence, of mysterious darkness and ominous light, of quiet obsession and subversive ecstasy."

Child welfare activist Hetty Johnston defended the police and stuck to the core issue. "You can call it anything you want, but at the end of the day, these are images of naked adolescents."

Henson has in the past spoken about the attraction that photographing naked children has held for him.

"Kids of this age, they seem to, as all those cliches go, be half in childhood, half in the adult world," he said. "They're at a point where there's an exponential change, both psychologically and physically, taking place and this all kind of creates a floating world of expectation and uncertainty."

Henson now finds himself at a point where he finds himself accused of stealing the innocence of childhood at the very nanosecond his camera seeks to capture it.

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Exports of Iran to Kyrgyzstan booming
Exports of Iran to Kyrgyzstan booming
Turkey expresses interest in expanding activities of Turkish companies in Kyrgyzstan
Turkey expresses interest in expanding activities of Turkish companies in Kyrgyzstan
President Sadyr Zhaparov signs decree on resignation of Cabinet
President Sadyr Zhaparov signs decree on resignation of Cabinet
Loading Bars
Israel says Abu Dhabi crown prince invites Israeli PM for 1st official visit
Volkswagen executive sees global chip shortage running well into 2022
Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry makes Twitter post in connection with anniversary of liberation from occupation of Zangilan (PHOTO)
Chronicles of Victory: President Ilham Aliyev addresses the nation due to liberation of Zangilan on October 20, 2020 (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Chronicles of Victory: October 20, 2020
U.S. workers face layoffs as U.S COVID-19 vaccine mandates kick in
21 passengers escape plane safely after crash in Texas, officials say
Facebook to pay up to $14.25 mln to settle U.S. employment discrimination claims
Azerbaijan discloses names of returned Armenian servicemen
Uzbekistan exports $625 million worth of fruits and vegetables in 9 months
UK records highest daily COVID death toll since early March
Ukrainian Bees Airline plans to launch Odessa-Tbilisi-Odessa flights starting October 22
Iranian official dismisses 'tensions' at Astara customs, says activity with Azerbaijan soars
Turkmenistan starts rice harvest in Dashoguz region
Azerbaijan supports all int’l efforts to ensure transparency in extractive industries – minister
Refining activity of Iran's Fajr Jam Gas Refining Company soars
Iran’s Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Corporation sets new record
Azerbaijan's defense minister visits newly established commando military unit (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Iran’s PMO declares data on load/unload operations in Jask Port
Iran intends to increase exports through Astara
Turkey reveals cargo traffic via its ports from Portugal for 8M2021
Exports of Iran to Kyrgyzstan booming
President Ilham Aliyev receives Croatia's Minister of Foreign and European Affairs (VIDEO)
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on October 20
President Ilham Aliyev expresses condolences to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price rebounds
Azerbaijan transfers captured Armenian servicemen back to Armenia
Uzbekistan plans to exempt import and sale of meat products from VAT
Turkey shares data on maritime cargo shipment with Russia for 8M2021
Azerbaijan shares data on oil transported via BTC pipeline in 9M2021
USAID to provide additional funds for Kazakhstan to fight COVID-19
Turkey announces data on cargo traffic with Italy for 8M2021
Kazakhstan imposes export restrictions for some timber types
Azerbaijan names locations of future national parks in liberated territories
Azerbaijan demands certain steps from Armenia at UN International Court of Justice
Iran’s 9M2021 Turkish cement imports up
Iran to host meeting on economic co-op with Turkmenistan
Georgian foreign trade turnover increases
Iran increases petrochemicals production
Kazakhstan sees increase in number of open trading accounts
​Iran allocates more funds for oil and gas projects in Ilam Province
Turkey unveils data on cargo traffic via its ports from Spain
Georgia's domestic export up in 9M2021
Value of Turkish cement exports to Georgia for 8M2021 down
Turkey shares data on cargo traffic with Greece for 8M2021
Turkey reveals cargo volume handled from Egypt in 8M2021
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
Azerbaijan confirms 2,102 more COVID-19 cases, 863 recoveries
Cargo traffic on Azerbaijan's section of TRACECA for 8M2021 revealed
IMF lowers breakeven oil price level for Azerbaijan
Saudi index hits 15-year peak as most Gulf bourses gain
Israel's Bank Mizrahi Tefahot to issue $1.1 bln of CPI-linked bonds
Iran seeks to complete semi-finished project related to Lake Urmia's revitalization
Iran imports trucks to renovate transportation fleet
IMF revises up forecasts for Azerbaijan’s non-oil GDP growth
Iran`s domestic appliances production increases
IMF reveals forecast for Azerbaijan’s annual inflation
Iran's imports from neighboring countries up
Turkey discloses volume of cargo shipment via its ports from Singapore for 8M2021
Hungarian companies to attend Rebuild Karabakh EXPO
Azerbaijan raises gas exports via BTE pipeline
IMF predicts growth for Azerbaijan's GDP
Azerbaijani ministry denies rumors about full transition of schools to online lessons
Slovakia interested in deepening relations with Azerbaijan - FM
Turkey reveals cargo traffic with Morocco for 8M2021
Data on cargo shipping between Turkey and Algeria for 8M2021 revealed
Turkey shares data on cargo traffic with Israel for 8M2021
TAP partially stems increase in gas prices – managing director
Iran to sell oil through private sector
Iran started exploration of mining sites in South Khorasan Province
Minister talks preferential loans issued in Azerbaijan since early 2021
Bakcell will be ready to implement eSIM project in Azerbaijan
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for October 19
Iran's steel production increases
Iran eyes to boost domestic production in mining, industrial and commercial sectors
AccessBank eyes increasing loan portfolio mainly in segment of micro, agricultural entrepreneurs - Acting Chairman of Board (Interview)
National bank of Georgia shares data on payment cards issuance
Average mobile internet download speed continues to grow in Azerbaijan - Ookla
Galt & Taggart publishes overview of Georgia's economic growth
USAID selecting Turkmen business projects for co-financing
Eni Turkmenistan Ltd opens tender for supply of wellhead equipment
Azerbaijan exported most of its oil to Italy in 9M2021 - State Customs Committee
Iran ready to attract investment in renewable energy sector - minister
Azerbaijan - supporter of normalization of relations with Armenia, says FM
Azerbaijan, Slovakia eye signing agreement on economic co-op
Slovakia to supply Azerbaijan with de-mining machines in near future
Azerbaijan denies rumors about impeding exports from Iran to Russia
Iran Standards and Quality Inspection Agency releases car quality report
Iran to complete railway transit corridors - RAI
Baku Expo Center to soon open 'Rebuild Karabakh' exhibition
Joint press conference of Azerbaijani and Slovak FMs held in Baku (PHOTO/VIDEO)
VTB Bank in Georgia to back up creation of Nuclear Medicine and Diagnostic Center
Uzbekistan to produce its first electric cars
Turkey's steel export to Uzbekistan surges in value for 9M2021
Turkey shares data for cargo traffic via domestic ports from Ukraine in 8M2021
Azerbaijani, Slovak FMs holding expanded meeting (PHOTO)
Turkmen state concern to buy chemical products via tender
Azerbaijan’s 'Kalbajar' tanker leaves for first voyage
Renewables’ share in global energy supply to increase to over 25%
Georgia shares data on COVID-19 cases for October 19
All news