Taiji Slaughter Art: Too Bloody for Aussie Sister City?

Dolphin Art and Artist SIZE.jpg

Taiji Slaughter Art: Too Bloody for Aussie Sister City?
Artist Adrian Dwyer stands by his painting that depicts Taiji, Japan's annual dolphin drive hunt. (Photo: ABC News Australia)

In news, “if it bleeds, it leads.”

In Broome, Australia, if it bleeds, it has to be removed from the art show.

Organizers of an exhibition in Broome—the sister city of Taiji, Japan—recently withdrew a painting that depicted the Japanese village’s annual dolphin drive hunt because it was “inflammatory,” reports ABC News Australia.

Shinju Matsuri Festival President, Jillian Philp, says displaying the painting, done by a local artist, would have jeopardised recent efforts at reconciliation between the two towns.

In 2009, Broome temporarily suspended its relationship with Taiji after the release of the The Cove, the Academy award-winning documentary that unveiled a local secret: Taiji’s fishermen lure dolphins into the shallow waters of an inlet and separate out the ones worth selling to an aquarium.

Art is supposed to raise questions.

The rest are harpooned and butchered in a bloody slaughter, and their toxic meat is later sold in local supermarkets.

In spite of intense international pressure to end the hard-to-watch ritual, the town’s fishermen are determined to continue the hunt, arguing that it is a traditional rite.

Philp said that she didn’t want to offend the Japanese consul-general, who was visiting Broome for the art fair.

“To reinflame an old argument about something that’s been going on for over 100 years was really out of line,” she said.

Artist Adrian Dwyer told Yahoo News of Australia that he was “devastated” and “upset” that his true-to-life depiction was taken down.

The decision “went against the grain of what art is all about,” said Dwyer. “Art is supposed to raise questions.”