Wheatbelt council decides against selling controversial painting by convicted child sex offender Rolf Harris

When does art have to separate from artists? This is a question that the local government in Wheatbelt, Western Australia, addressed this week when it voted against the sale of a painting that was donated by child sex offender Rolf Harris.

At the request of one of his Perth Modern School classmates, the embarrassed entertainer drew a picture of the Quairading Forest in front of a crowd at the local town hall in 1983.

Local governments and institutions rushed to Harris’ artwork and painted it in 2014 after the 92-year-old man was found guilty of sexually abusing four girls. In the United Kingdom between 1968 and 1986.

Quairading has been in storage since then, but recently the council received an offer from a private buyer who was willing to pay $ 3,000 for the painting.

Rolf Harris Art in Bundaberg
The Bundaberg council removed a painting of Uluru by Rolf Harris from a rented room of the Moncrieff Theater.(ABC News)

Locals divide paintings

Community improvement feedback is constantly sought out what to do with the artwork, with about half of the 75 people who responded that they would like to keep the painting in a prominent area.

Fans claim it is a masterpiece of art, with many people having fond memories while The painting appeared in front of their eyes.

A report presented to the council said that 50 percent of respondents opposed to keeping the artwork did not want the “lifelong immorality and injuries he inflicted on children” to “celebrate” by showing No painting.

A white-haired man wearing sunglasses stands next to a portrait of Princess Elizabeth II as he poses for a photo.
Rolf Harris at a portrait of Princess Elizabeth II on December 19, 2005.(AP Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Some community members have suggested that the painting be priced by an art dealer before the sale, with allowances for appropriate causes.

Others want to destroy the pieces.

Shire of Quairading chairman Peter Smith said the council had finally decided that the paintings should not be sold.

“We consider the collective view of the council that it belongs to the community and because it is divided,” he said. “Together we decided we should not sell it and we should save it for future generations.”

“We are here to make decisions on behalf of our community. It makes sense that it is kept in the possession of our community.”

Smith acknowledged that many people liked the work, but said the painting would not be displayed in City Hall.

“I thought it was a lovely painting, but I can not forgive anything. [Harris’s] Past activities.

Quairading was not the only Wheatbelt town to receive art by Harris, and the decision by the Shire of Dalwallinu to suspend painting after his conviction drew strong criticism. This painting was taken from public view.

Greater Geraldton has a work of art by Harris kept at a local art gallery in Geraldton, but Mayor Shane Van Styn has said there are no plans to move, display or sell it.

Street view of a rural town with flowers in the middle of the streets and bars of a historic country.
Shire of Dalwallinu removes Rolf Harris paintings from the show.(ABC Midwest and Wheatbelt: Samille Mitchell)

In 2015, Harris was stripped of the honorary title bestowed on him by Princess Elizabeth II after his painting of the last king was unveiled in 2005.

ABC reported in September that the current location of the portrait was unknown, with the latest public display being in Liverpool’s Walker Gallery.

A construction material store in Caulfield painted on an advertisement for British Paints by Harris and Madame Tussauds Sydney removed the wax figure of the entertainer after community comments.

Harris was sentenced to five years and nine months in prison but was released after only three years in prison. Years only.

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