The controversy behind Dark Mofo’s ‘insensitive and ignorant’ First Nations’ blood artwork

This year, the always provocative Dark Mofo in Tasmania raised things several notches by commissioning a work from Spanish artist Santiago Sierra.

The work, entitled Union Flag, was to see First Nations people from countries and territories colonised by the British Empire donate blood that would be used to soak a British flag in what the artist described as “an acknowledgment of the pain and destruction colonialism has caused”.

The announcement received almost immediate backlash from First Nations communities in Australia. Critics described it as “insensitive and ignorant” and “abusive, colonising and re-traumatising”.

After initially doubling down on their decision to commission the work, saying “self-expression is a fundamental human right”, on Tuesday Dark Mofo’s creative director apologised and cancelled the work.

Today on Please Explain, Nathanael Cooper and culture reporter Broede Carmody look at the controversy around Union Flag and Dark Mofo’s decision to cancel the commission.

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