The organiser of Tasmania’s Dark Mofo has apologised after the arts festival received backlash over plans to cover a Union Jack flag in Indigenous blood.
The festival put out a call on its Instagram account for Indigenous people to donate a small amount of blood, facilitated by a medical professional before the event.
The blood would then cover the Union Jack for an art project called Union Flag by Spanish artist Santiago Sierra.
“We’ve heard the community’s response to Santiago Sierra’s Union Flag,” festival director Leigh Carmichael said.
“In the end the hurt that will be caused by proceeding isn’t worth it.
“We made a mistake, and take full responsibility.
“The project will be cancelled. We apologise to all First Nations people for any hurt that has been caused. We are sorry.”
Prior to the apology, the festival defended its decision on Monday, after it was “overwhelmed with responses” from Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.
“We understand, respect and appreciate the many diverse views in relation to this confronting project.
“Self-expression is a fundamental human right, and we support artists to make and present work regardless of their nationality or cultural background.
“The range of perspectives reflects the conversations we had with Tasmanian Aboriginal people prior to announcing the project.
“It’s not surprising that the atrocities committed as a result of colonising nations continue to haunt us.”