Woman wants Te Manawa photos removed from show

OFFENSIVE?: The controversial artwork.
OFFENSIVE?: The controversial artwork.

An all-ages art exhibition showcasing "repugnant" photographs and sexually explicit language is just broadening people's minds, Palmerston North's Te Manawa museum says.

Tauranga woman Jocelyn Winwood is determined to get two photographs of the Gay Liberation Dance of 1974 taken away from the eyes of young children visiting her city's art gallery.

The Fiona Clark photographs, which contain transgender women with accompanying sexual quotes scribbled in ballpoint pen, are part of Te Manawa's Now and Then exhibition.

The exhibition, which began in Palmerston North, has been touring the country without complaint since March 17, 2012. Until now.

Mrs Winwood has even contacted Tauranga city councillors attempting to get the artwork removed and has received agreement in principle from two of them.

But in response to Mrs Winwood's concerns Tauranga Art Gallery director Penelope Jackson said they would not be removing the photographs.

Te Manawa chief executive Andy Lowe said Fiona Clark's art was beautifully crafted, historically important and encouraged people to challenge their own perceptions.

"We are about challenging boundaries and about different people seeing different things. These are real people with real voices and it broadens peoples minds for people to see this sort of art."

There was a disclaimer warning of potentially offensive content placed next to the photographs when they were displayed in Palmerston North and the exhibition had passed with only positive comments, he said.

Mrs Winwood, a photographer herself, said she was not a prude but no-one could possibly consider the photographs art.

"I think they [the art galleries] are lacking in moral fibre. Standards today are getting lower and lower and in the end, how far will we go?

"It will be a free-for-all."

The language in the text could have at least been blotted out to stop children reading it, Mrs Winwood said. Other than the two photographs she had no issues with the exhibition remaining open.

"I absolutely loved the close-up portraits on display. That's my idea of art."

Manawatu Standard