I usually peruse the SAQA listserve every morning- it is a good way to wake up and sometimes I find some good tips there. Sure, like lots of listserves there is inane chitter chatter- but I just gloss over that and get what I want from the list. But this morning there was a post that caught my eye.

It turns out that a piece done by Kathy Nida was removed from a SAQA curated show when in was shown in an AQS venue in Grand Rapids Michigan. Turns out that one or two people found it objectionable since they thought there are a penis there- which according to the artist there was not. Now I for one do not give a rat's ass if there was a penis or not- but I believe that a piece that was juried into a SAQA show should not be removed for actually any reason. If you don't like a piece, walk on by. But do not insist that your sensibilities be imposed on anyone else. To SAQA's credit they are developing a policy to handle a situation like this if it ever rises again.

I have seen some questionable pieces of performance art in my time- I have even seen the famous piece of Christ with dog feces on it. I did not like it. I walked away. But, I also remembered it. And sometimes I wish I did not remember it, but I am certain that I would never forbid anyone else from forming their own opinions. Mapplethorpe's amazing photography- which was judged to be pornographic is now being looked at again with more liberal eyes. And I know for a fact, that some of my early art made lots of people squeamish.... including my kids. But my policy was unwavering- if you do not like the subject matter then do not hang it on your wall.

Kathy Nida's work is raw, and gutsy, and strong, and according to her website conveys some very personal thoughts. I applaud the fact that she has a style that is all of her own and very much in your face. I recognize her work as it is distinct from anyone else's, and yes, sometimes it is hard to look at since it is very raw and visceral. But I am glad that I get to see her work even if I do not choose to purchase it.

I hope that SAQA comes out with a strong statement and policy on how to handle censorship in the future.