Reaction by FNCC to ‘Nudity’ Article

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Following an article published in New Era on Friday, 17 November, the Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre would like to exercise its right of reply. I would be thankful if New Era could publish promptly the following right of reply: “Right of reply. In reaction to the article “Nudity in art is part of realism” published by New Era on Friday 17 November, the Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre would like to raise a few additional elements that were not presented so far. We first regret that New Era didn’t approach the FNCC, in order to complement its information. Second, we note that the article omits a core fact: the picture is of a crucified woman. Her nudity was irrelevant to the decisions taken by the FNCC. Discussion of nudity therefore misses the point. Pictures of a crucified woman are not new, In 1985, for example, the poster for Goddard’s “Je vous salue Marie” movie represented a crucified woman. The French judges decided that this representation could be offensive for believers and that the picture could not be used as a poster on the streets. The picture was authorised but its commercial use was restricted. The FNCC tried working with Avalon to prepare a week of activities to raise awareness on violence against women and children. We felt that using a controversial picture with no immediate link with the topic at hand was not a fruitful way to promote awareness and constructive action against violence in the society. Defence of Human Rights cannot be used as a pretext for self-promotion. To our surprise, the director of Avalon, who is also the photographer, decided that unless his picture was given prominence, all the activities would have to be cancelled. The awareness-raising week therefore didn’t take place. The long standing commitment of FNCC to artistic creation in Namibia cannot be questioned. The FNCC is a major supporter of emerging artists and of Namibian cultural institutions. Alleging that the FNCC is an obstacle to freedom of artistic creation is unfounded and offensive.” Sincerely yours, Catherine Calothy Director of FNCC