Part one and part two have already been published. This is the third and final part of my 10 minute speech for Sydney University’s Tuesday Talks program. Frequent readers may recognize some passages here, I couldn’t improve on them!
When I initially wrote about the Bill Henson scandal a number of people told me that I would feel differently once I was a parent. As if that would change who I am. I am proud to say that i am now the mother of a little girl and my views have not changed. I believe, as I did then, that if she were approached by an artist to be a model I would support her. That isn’t to say that I wouldn’t do my due diligence on the artist to ensure they were on the level, and I would be there with her. But the decision is not mine, it would be hers.
One thing that struck me about the model known as N, the adolescent in the image seen on the invitations that caused much of the furor, is that when interviewed she discussed all the considerations she made before modeling. She considered how she felt about her body, how she may feel about school mates seeing her in the nude and how she might feel about it years later.
The most important thing to realize is that what you take away from viewing an artwork is not just what the artist puts in, it’s what you bring to it as well.
Your past affects it as much or even more than the artist’s intentions.
Everyone sees art differently which is why it is difficult to judge, and why it should never be stifled.
artistic merit should not become a goto excuse for pornographers, that harms us artists more than anyone – but it must be allowed. we cannot create under a blanket of censorship and we cannot be the artists we need to be without freedom to create. art has the power to challenge our views, to make us think and and to change the world. I believe that the arts are one of the most powerful forces of humanity and should never be denied.
There is a difference, too, between sexual and sensual. There are as many shades of gray as there are stages of undress. Art can be arousing. It should be arousing. It should inspire passion. Not just sexually, but in all things. Arousal and passion are not just the pervue of sexuality, but of life. And art is life