Child porn debate rears it’s head in ottawa

Sarah Hatton’s controversial painting

“Each person does figure out for themselves what they think the intent is,” she says, “and some are going to see that it’s negative and others will see it as I see it, which is an innocent observation of what I see every day as a mother.”

I’ve shown the digital scans of the images to various people and seen very distinct reactions. Another gallery owner saw the images as provocation for its own sake, and exploitive of the child.

A man with university-age daughters of his own was not troubled by the images, but wondered if we have “lost the innocence” that would allow us to behold paintings of a nude child and not feel uncomfortable. A middle-aged woman found the images disturbing, and felt that one pose had been “eroticized.”

And then there’s the provocative question that one veteran figure in the Ottawa arts community put to me in an e-mail: “Bishops lose their jobs for looking at pictures of naked children: Should artists be allowed to paint them?”

[From Paintings of nude toddler stir up art-porn debate ]

I am not going to enter into all my previous debates yet again, I think everything I can say has been said on the subject already. I do, however, find this article very interesting. it’s carefully written and worded to provide all sides of the debate and works hard to remain unbiased- even clinical. it raises some very well thought out questions and doesn’t seek to answer them.

I don’t know the works of the artist in question or the story behind the exhibition, so I am not going to comment on the artist’s personal ethics or how the works appear to me. there is a feeling, however, to her comments which make me wonder if this exhibition is a deliberate attempt to utilize such a controversial topic. whether to raise awareness of the issues, to bring the debate about and (hopefully) some kind of answer or definition or just to bring more people into the gallery I couldn’t say. it could be all three, or just, as the artist says, “an innocent observation of what I see every day as a mother.”

I do agree with the man above who is concerned that we have “lost our innocence.” I mourn that we have to analyze everything like this, that they cannot be taken at face value. I think that our fears and constant debate belittle the notion of innocence and our appreciation of the simple beauties in life.

One thought on “Child porn debate rears it’s head in ottawa

  1. “Bishops lose their jobs for looking at pictures of naked children: Should artists be allowed to paint them?”

    Of course.

    There is nothing wrong with painting a Bishop.

    Lost innocence has caused us to sugar coat our literature and doubt our visual arts.

    Standards are defined by the powerful to protect the weak at the cost of the eccentric.

    Define “eccentric” as you will.

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