Artists hit back with nude-only art exhibition
A GROUP of Bundaberg artists are out to show that art cannot be censored in the region by announcing plans to hold a nude-only art exhibition.
The move comes after vision-impaired artist Dennis Mealor's naked photograph of a mature-aged woman, titled Viva Italia, was suddenly withdrawn from the Bundaberg Arts Festival without an explanation last month.
Jacky Poulter, and about seven other volunteers with the Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery (BRAG), will hold "Just Nudes" at the Dirty Linen Artspace next March.
The group is calling itself the BRAG Traders, and has created the independent exhibition because of the expulsion of Mr Mealor's artwork from the 2013 festival.
"Dennis had his photo rejected by the Bundaberg Arts Festival," she said.
"(The decision) was aggressive, uncalled for and out of line."
Mrs Poulter said naked art could be shown in good taste.
"It doesn't mean it's wrong or dirty," she said.
"We want to show that Bundaberg is not small-minded - this is art, not porn."
Bundaberg Arts Festival president Wendy Francis, who chaired the committee which decided to reject Mr Mealor's work, said she would be "delighted" to attend the nude-only exhibition.
"I'm not a prude," she said.
"I don't find the naked anatomy distasteful at all.
"A nude-only exhibition will appeal to people who wish to view it."
Despite her comments, Mrs Francis said she still stood by the controversial decision made at the festival.
"I was representing the Bundaberg Arts Festival Association as a member of the committee," she said.
Mrs Francis said she hoped the exhibition would not be sexist and would include artwork of naked men as well as women.
"If it's sexist, I will be the first one to phone (the NewsMail)," she said.
Mr Mealor said he would be contributing his works to the exhibition, including Viva Italia.
"Dirty Linen is a lot more out there and more in tune with big-time galleries," he said.