May 10, 2014

New Zealand PM's daughter in a headdress

PM's daughter releases more raunchy artwork

By Kirsty WynnPrime Minister John Key is backing his daughter over her latest series of artworks, which has attracted controversy because of its reference to native North American customs.

Stephanie Key posted the pictures online as she prepared to submit her portfolio at the Paris College of Art—an American private university with four campuses in Paris.

One of the pop-art style self-portraits, showing Key wearing an elaborate pink, feathered, war headdress, lacy pink knickers and a pink modesty star over her nipple, has been criticised for being culturally inappropriate.
And:The war headdress of Native Americans and Canadian First Nations was used only for important occasions. Each eagle feather told a story and the wearer earned each feather in his or her headdress.

Desi Rodriguez Lonebear, a Native American Indian from the Northern Cheyenne tribe of Montana now based in New Zealand, said Key owes an apology to Native Americans and the tangata whenua of her own country.

"I think it's incredibly offensive and distasteful."

Hamilton-based Lonebear said it was even more shocking that the work was by the prime minister's daughter, and called for the photo to be removed from the collection.

"I see a nearly nude woman posing in a war bonnet headdress and holding a peace pipe — the most sacred of objects. It's totally mocking.

"It's very offensive that it's Prime Minister John Key's daughter. [It's] is a huge slap in the face for race relations and ultimately the cultural competency that I have been privileged to witness in New Zealand."

PM backs daughter after art cops flak

By Kirsty WynnMr Key was questioned over his daughter's controversial art while speaking to media after his address at the National Party conference in Queenstown today.

He said he and his wife Bronagh were "proud of her."

"You've got to remember these pictures were taken off Facebook and [that's] probably something that wouldn't happen to any other art student studying in Paris.

"She's going to make her way in the world ... I hope she does well and I'm incredibly proud of her.

"She's going to have her own view of what art is.

"I hope she's happy and she's healthy and she pursues her dream."
John Key defends daughter's 'art'Prime Minister John Key has defended a raunchy photo of his daughter Stephanie wearing a pink traditional Native American headpiece saying the picture was not culturally insensitive.

Key responded to questions by the media at the National Party conference in Queenstown today about the latest pictures of his daughter Stephanie, 21, emerging online.
Comment:  Actually, Key didn't say anything about cultural appropriation--at least in the quotes given above. Let's examine what he said:

  • He's "proud of her"--but not for any particular piece of "art."

  • People took the photos off Facebook, which presumably has a lower standard of quality. He implies they did something wrong--exposing her "art" to a more critical audience that would judge the racism and sexism.

  • She has her own view of what art--which presumably doesn't match his or anyone else's. What she considers art, others may consider cultural appropriation and racist stereotyping.

  • That's his defense of her? Okay, if you say so. To me, it sounds more like someone trying to subtly distance himself from her antics.

    For more on hipsters in headdresses, see Coyne Apologizes for Dog Headdress and Little Mix Salutes Stereotypical "Warriors."

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