Articles on Cultural appropriation

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Cio-Cio-San (centre) during a dress rehearsal of Opera Australia’s Madama Butterfly at the Sydney Opera House in Sydney in 2019. Works such as this are attracting criticism from some modern audiences. Stephen Saphore/AAP

Opera is stuck in a racist, sexist past, while many in the audience have moved on

Opera companies around the world are grappling with an ever-widening gap between a repertoire frozen in time and an increasingly critical audience.
Mexicans representing indigenous soldiers and the French army, re-enact the battle of Puebla during Cinco de Mayo celebrations in Mexico City. AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo

Americans might love Cinco de Mayo, but few know what they’re celebrating

The holiday honors a 19th-century battle between the French and the Mexican armies that, strangely enough, may have influenced the outcome of the US Civil War.
Composer William Barton in 2013. Indigenous composers have long been working in the field, but the contribution of Indigenous music and culture to Australian composition deserves greater recognition. David Crosling/AAP

It’s time to properly acknowledge - and celebrate - Indigenous composers

Australian composers have long referenced Indigenous music and culture in their works. A new platform paper suggests a more collaborative way forward.
The restaurants that tend to win awards in Australia are predominantly run by white owners serving European food. Why don’t people of colour get the same attention in the kitchen? Tracey Nearmy/AAP

Why celebrity, award-winning chefs are usually white men

Who has the right to cook 'ethnic' food? And why do Western chefs tend to win all the top awards? The answer: it's complicated.
Tony Albert Girramay/Yidinji/Kuku Yalanji peoples. Australia Qld/NSW b.1981. Mid Century Modern (series) 2016 Pigment prints | 24 works: 100 x 100cm (each) Collection: The artist. Courtesy: Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney

Tony Albert’s politically charged kitsch collection confronts our racist past

Tony Albert reassembles items of 'Aboriginalia', featuring kitsch caricatures of Indigenous people, with wit, playfulness and serious intent.
Artist Nyapanyapa Yunipingu is assisted by art centre worker Jeremy Cloake at Buku-Larrnngay Art Centre,Yirrkala. Siobhan McHugh

Aboriginal art: is it a white thing?

White people hugely influence the Aboriginal art world – but that can be a good thing, according to the artists.
A sculpture of William Ricketts looms over those of Arrernte and Pitjantjatjara men at the sanctuary in Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges. Chris Haych/flickr

Friday essay: William Ricketts Sanctuary is a racist anachronism but can it foster empathy?

A mossy sanctuary in Victoria's Dandenong Ranges houses 92 sculptures, mostly of Arrernte and Pitjantjatjara men, women and children. They are steeped in primitivism, yet the park is a popular tourist attraction.
The Rolling Stones performing in Hamburg during the ‘No Filter’ European tour: the band’s legacy is entwined with the pioneers of black American music. Morris Mac Matzen/Reuters

Friday essay: the art of the pinch – popular music and appropriation

Pinching musical phrases and stylistic approaches has always been a part of art making and can be a respectful exchange. But shallow, ill-informed appropriation only perpetuates tired stereotypes.
When does parody spill into insensitive cultural appropriation? While Chris LIlley is probably OK to appropriate the upper North Shore culture of Ja’mie (pictured), he’s on dodgier ground with Jonah from Tonga. Princess Pictures, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Home Box Office (HBO)

Permission to laugh? Humour without risk of danger and offence would be an emaciated thing

In our pursuit of a world that is safely and entirely OK, must humour be cleansed of its original sin of cultural appropriation and insensitivity? It depends whether we are 'laughing up' or 'laughing down'.
A souvenir stand in the Canary Islands displaying boomerangs (on the right). fabcom/flickr

Indigenous cultural appropriation: what not to do

The production of fake First Nations art is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cultural appropriation. From 'didge therapy' to the overuse of words like 'deadly' here's a (subjective) guide to what to avoid.
Model Adriana Lima walks the stage in “Nomadic Adventure” lingerie “inspired by indigenous African cultures,” at the Victoria’s Secret fashion show in Shanghai on Nov. 20. (Handout)

Victoria’s Secret does it again: Cultural appropriation

At Victoria's Secret recent fashion show on Nov. 20, models strutted down the runway wearing Native-inspired regalia. There is no excuse for this socially irresponsible behaviour.
Two young Brazilian men at a carnival street party in Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro wearing traditional Indigenous feathers. (Shutterstock)

A guide: Think before you appropriate

Taking a practical and pragmatic approach by posing a series of questions to consider, this summary of the IPinCH guide unpacks important questions about cultural appropriation.

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