In plain sight

The Weekend Australian - Magazine - - FRONT -

Phillip Adams may be the only per­son to visit Don­ald Friend in Bali and not re­alise he was a pae­dophile (“Art of darkness”, Oct 21-22). I lived near Friend at Sa­nur for 18 months and could work out what was go­ing on merely by walk­ing along the beach past his house. By 1978 he was an em­bar­rass­ment to the Ba­li­nese govern­ment and his days as a wealthy bribe-artist were al­most over. He was ill when he left in 1980 but that is not why he left. He was kicked out for his pae­dophilia, just as he had been evicted from Sri Lanka. That said, I do not think gal­leries should hide all of his works; just don’t hang the ones founded on his pae­dophilia. Tony English Valla, NSW

Michaela Boland states that “a planned bi­og­ra­phy [of Friend] by Ian Brit­ten [sic] has never been pub­lished”. Her pre­sump­tion ap­pears to be that this bi­og­ra­phy has been aban­doned. If this is the pre­sump­tion, it is in­cor­rect. Schol­arly bi­ogra­phies take a long time, and I am still work­ing on mine full-time, aim­ing to sub­mit it to pub­lish­ers next year. Con­cen­trat­ing on the hith­erto ne­glected for­ma­tive years of Friend’s life, my book will seek to ex­plore the ori­gins of many facets of his later ca­reer and per­son­al­ity, not least the vexed and com­pli­cated ques­tion of his sex­u­al­ity. Ian Britain Rich­mond, Vic

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