Recently, Toronto’s Visions Gallery cancelled a show by local artist Amanda PL after outrage was voiced online about the aboriginal inspired artwork she planned to exhibit. The problem? Amanda is a “paleface” making her appreciation of native art more akin to appropriation.
The usual suspects made such a fuss that Visions Gallery promptly issued a statement noting the show would not go on due to political correctness.
In fact, Chippewa artist Jay Soule told the CBC:
“What (Amanda PL is) doing is essentially cultural genocide, because she’s taking (Morrisau’s) stories and retelling them, which bastardizes it down the road.”
Yes, apparently she’s the architect of an artistic Holocaust!
For her part, Amanda PL was stunned by both the online backlash and the cancellation of her show saying:
“I think it’s a shame to say that an artist can’t create something because they’re not from that race. That’s like saying any other culture can’t touch something like abstract art unless you’re white.”
She’s got a point. How is it that “cultural appropriation” is now considered so egregious in the first place? Cultural appropriation is as old as human history.
And to build on Amanda PL’s point, has the left really thought about the ramifications of cultural appropriation?
If we accept the idea that if a person of a certain race invents something, then only other members of that particular race are entitled to make use of it, does that mean that non-whites shouldn’t be allowed to drive cars or fly on airplanes or communicate with telephones given that these and so much more are Caucasian constructs?
In other words, be careful what you wish for.