The images of shocking events on Australia Day, 26 January 2012, when Aborigines violently attacked the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader and, a day later, spat upon and burnt the Australian flag, were instantly beamed all around the world.
This mirrors the violent attacks on the sculpture at the ModroGorje gallery in Katoomba, Blue Mountains.
The gallery owners were ordered by the local council to remove the Wanjina Watchers in the Whispering Stone sculpture by Sydney artist and art teacher Benedikt Osváth from their private gallery front yard, due to a violent Aboriginal campaign. This was an unprecedented action by the local council. It decided to censor art, by manipulating planning laws.
The gallery owner Vesna Tenodi said: “Now the entire world has seen what type of mentality we had to cope with. Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott were lucky to have their security people protecting them. Who did we have while we were terrorised by Aborigines in the Blue Mountains for the last two years? We had local council workers and councillors who gave their full support to the vandals. And the Arts Law Centre, which is funded by the Australian Government, who kept threatening us with legal action for “upsetting their Aboriginal clients”. And the Blue Mountains police who looked the other way, intimidated by the Aboriginal tactics.
“The politically-motivated campaign and censorship of our art are disgusting, and is detailed in my book “Dreamtime Set in Sand”.
“The violent behaviour that Australia saw and was shocked by over those two days last week is all very familiar to us. Aboriginal “activist” Paul Coe stated that we, Australians, should all “piss off” out of their country. When that was yelled at us in the streets of Katoomba, we ignored it, but then put their insults to music and released a song Wanjinas’ Kiss.
“Our Prime Minister said she was angry that the mob ruined such an important event. The Katoomba thugs ruined every ModroGorje event, with their hysterical rants. It’s always the same rhetoric, they are “angry”, “offended” and “provoked”, and it’s always somebody else’s fault. There is no way to calm such angry people down, they live in a permanent state of rage. And they never accept any responsibility.
In response to vandals who heavily damaged the Wanjina Watchers sculpture, ModroGorje artists have been running a number of protest initiatives in Australia and Europe, under the title “Dreamtime is over – it’s time to wake up”.
In June 2010, the Sydney Morning Herald mocked Ms Tenodi for saying: “Prehistoric imagery belongs to the world. Any group claiming ownership is a ludicrous proposition. We have to make this clear, otherwise we will all be held hostage by this Aboriginal nonsense.” She was attacked again and the Wanjina Watchers sculpture was, again, repeatedly vandalised.
Well, 18 months later it is obvious to everyone that these were prophetic words. Australians are today indeed held hostage to never-ending Aboriginal demands.
“Most Australians are now angry and offended that, in response to the billions of dollars and enormous goodwill shown by the Australian people, Aborigines respond with violence and further demands, while the Government continues with its appeasement strategy” Ms Tenodi continued. “It is not possible to pacify someone who chooses to stay offended and enraged.”
This Gordian knot should be resolved by a decisive move and a change of approach. The Australian taxpayer should no longer be forced to carry the burden of all those failing programs designed to help Aboriginal people – who spit on that same taxpayer’s flag.
Ms Tenodi was run out of Katoomba. She said, “There is a long list of artists who were harassed by Aborigines. So we were not the first, but we certainly hope we are the last. Last week’s events were shining the light on the elephant in the room and we can no longer pretend not to see it.
“Our lives were ruined in every sense. While a lot of people were giving us support “behind the scenes”, only few dared to speak openly, out of fear for their own safety.
“It is appalling that Australian artists are not free to create art without censorship. We are living with a communist-like system where art is dictated by irrational objectors and threats of violence. Australian artists have to take their art overseas. This is an absurd situation.”
The Australian Government appears to be unwilling to solve the problem of Aboriginal hate dictating art. This makes Australia a laughing stock in art circles all around the world.
In the light of last week’s events, we can all expect Government policy to be thoroughly re-examined and changed. Government funded bodies who have been misusing their power for years should have their funding removed.
No Australian artist should have to live in fear of being terrorised by Aborigines, their lawyers, or local bureaucrats.
Aborigines should say sorry to the ModroGorje artists and should apologise for burning and spitting on the Australian flag. Is it too much to expect the Australian people to stand up in defence of their national symbol?
Donald Richardson, ModroGorje artists’ consultant:
Sydney, 31 January 2012