Same Old Question

Caravaggio's Amor Vincit Omnia Bill Henson

That is “is it art or porn?” It is even more debatable when it comes to the kid issue. Red hot discussion at the moment is NSW Police seized up to 21 works of highly regard Australian photo artist, Bill Henson and closed the exhibition opening. While the Commissioner is considering charging him and the gallery as child offenders, arts community put their hands up and others raise the eyebrows. Whether how the lawsuit turns, the publicity, ahem…damage, has been done.

It is a thin line between these two realms but I believe it is a clear line. That line is the purpose and the intention. Obviously, pornography, soft-core or hard-core, is about sexuality and to fulfil that primitive human instinct. Many artists visit the theme many time. Some even uses pornos as the tool to tell the truths about it. That means there are layers of expressions to explore and think about, not just a quickie.

I have never seen Bill’s works in real life-slap me! Looking at the naked girl with inexpressive face beautifully lid from the back, personally as a child abuse victim myself-this is the first time I publicly disclose this, I find the image quite disturbing. It would creepily punch me on my face if it talked directly to me in print not on computer screen. Kevin Rudd says it is revolting. But that what is arts about: to touch you where no one can, to take you where no one can and to reflect and to understand yourself as a human being. And it is up to your interpretation.

Let the real paedophiles get moist with Caravaggio‘s Amor Vincit Omnia but they do not take it from the wall and hide it in a back room as it is worth much more to experience the beauty and joy of the creation than to feel the lust it hardly presents. For the mums and dads that scream out should open up to it and listen to what the artist would like to say, rather than try to cover their eyes and others.

Bill may or may not exploit the adolescences as he leaves that to the audiences’ views but he surely tackles the issue. A child abuser is an extremely strong accusation. It is our role to provide a safe place to our children. But I do not believe that covering up the issue the best way to sincerely educate our kids about it and handing that accusation to someone who just talk about it truthfully is a moral way to practice in this society.