A demure photograph of a naked female sitting on a rock with white cliffs in the background. Not that controversial you may think, what if I then say the naked female is six years old? The picture has been put on the cover of Australia’s leading arts journal Art Monthly. Kevin Rudd, the Aussie PM, says it’s “disgusting”, others say naked images of children are sexual and should therefore be banned. But should it?
This is one post responding to the image on the website of UK newspaper the Independent:
Only a paedophile could find a picture of a six year old arousing. So, what does that tell you about the people who say the pictures are pornographic or in any way sexual?
The photograph is a recreation of a Lewis Caroll image. Liberals argue that it all hinges on context and intent – if an artist has no intention of titillating, a work is not pornographic. And there is a difference between posting nude pictures of children online and displaying them in a gallery. “
Olympia Nelson, the girl in the photo, who is now 11 has said “I was really, really offended by what Kevin Rudd said about this picture. It is one of my favourites – if not my favourite – photo my mum has ever taken of me.”
It’s not the first time this issue has been raised. Police in Australia seized a number of artist Bill Henson’s photographs featuring near-naked or naked children in recent months, but were returned to a Sydney art gallery without charges being laid.
On today’s programme we are going to be joined by Olympia Nelson’s father Robert. If you have any questions for him or would like to come on air and speak to him, get in touch.