Anti-rally artist Chris Degenhardt and supporters outside council chambers at Murwillumbah.
Anti-rally artist Chris Degenhardt and supporters outside council chambers at Murwillumbah. Crystal Spencer

Artists protest mayor's decision

TWEED artists have rallied together to protest the mayor’s decision to deny a controversial painting from hanging in the Murwillumbah Library.

Nobbys Creek artist Chris Degenhardt led a peaceful demonstration outside the Tweed Shire Council chambers yesterday afternoon after Tweed Mayor Warren Polglase banned his anti-Repco Rally Australia painting from an exhibition.

The painting, titled Invasion, featured a dead koala and references to Nazism as a social commentary on the Australian leg of the World Rally Championships, held in the Tweed last September.

“This is important as it threatens our freedom of expression and using art as a medium for social comment. It was blatant prejudiced art censorship,” Mr Degenhardt said.

Mr Degenhardt said he has asked the New South Wales Local Government department to look into the matter.

“People have claimed that the mayor was overstepping his authority and I am checking this out with the Minister of Local Government,” he said.

The painting was on display at the Chillingham Markets at the weekend after Mr Degenhardt was told just days before the painting would not be allowed.

Council’s community and natural resources director David Oxenham said the mayor was within his rights to ban the painting.

A council spokeswoman said it was a matter which did not require a resolution of council.

She also said a clause in a contract between the library and Mr Degenhardt, which all artists exhibiting have to sign, said council retained the right to refuse the display of any artwork that was offensive or otherwise not suitable to display in the allocated space for any reason.

The Department of Local Government did not return calls placed by the Tweed Daily News yesterday.



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