Appropriation doesn’t equal original
RE: In defence of free artistic expression (May 18)
Laura Furster contends that Amanda PL, as a white artist, should be free to explore an indigenous art form. While she is free to attempt anything she could imagine, I wish that she would complete her studies more thoroughly.
Tracing someone else’s work does not make it yours. While it may develop technical skills, it does not yield works of art. It is not her own work. She needs to create her own style to be her own work. Those familiar with the original works would recognize her mistakes. She is a poor student.
Cultural appropriation is not an issue of genetics. It is a matter of being totally immersed, and thereby transforming that knowledge into an artistic form — while still being faithful to the original knowledge. Dabblers rarely succeed in making this transformation. By stealing the spotlight, Amanda PL stole. She stole critical gallery space. She stole critical media attention. And stole valuable opportunities from those she claims to admire.
There is no shortage of amazing indigenous artists. But authentic indigenous art is quite vocal. Their art work would be too controversial for most ‘comfortable’ art galleries to display.
And that is the unspoken dimension of this debate. Whitewashed art is far more acceptable than legitimate expressions from authentic sources. Darrell Doxtdator, Ohsweken