Indigenous artist seeks dead white body for government-funded art project

The controversial artist claims the work would “speak to sacrifice for past sins" perpetrated against the Aboriginal people.

Indigenous artist seeks dead white body for government-funded art project
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An indigenous artist has caused an uproar by advertising for a white person of British descent to donate their dead body for a government-funded art project he is creating.

Tasmanian artist Nathan Maynard placed advertisements in The Age last weekend that read: “Palawa artist wanting to find an Australian of British descent who is willing to donate their future deceased body to an art installation.”

He wrote that the work would “speak to sacrifice for past sins perpetrated against the palawa (Aboriginal people)”.

“Potential applications should see this opportunity as an honor,” he wrote.

Maynard, who assured journalists he was “deadly serious” about the idea, said it would test how far white people were prepared to go to support Aboriginals.

“I want people to ask, ‘What am I prepared to do for Aboriginal Australians?’” he said.

“I don’t expect everyone would want to donate their dead body. That’s a huge ask – I’m aware of that. But hopefully it starts a conversation in lounge rooms, in offices around Australia and internationally.”

Maynard said it was all very well for people to virtue signal their support of Aboriginal people, but his request would test just how serious people were about wanting to help first Australians.

“They might not put their body on the line for an art installation, but what are they physically prepared to do? Are they prepared to come and march on the streets with us?”

Maynard has not made clear how the donated body would be used but insisted it would be used in a respectful way.

The proposed artwork has been commissioned as part of an exhibition for November’s Hobart Current arts festival which is supported by the Tasmanian Museum and the Hobart City Council.

Maynard told The Australian several people had already expressed interest in donating their bodies since the ad first appeared on Saturday.


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  • By Avi Yemini

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