Emotional quilt by Lynley Ducker banned from Australian exhibition
A quilt by Australian crafter Lynley Ducker has been denied exhibition at Canberra Quilters Inc Members’ Exhibition by the Canberra Quilters Guild Committee.
The quilt in question has been “banned” from the show for displaying the word “f*****s” for fear that it would be inappropriate for children to view and potentially offensive to adults. The Guild offered to allow Ducker to add sew asterisks over the majority of the offensive word’s letters, but Ducker refused. The reason for her refusal however, brings to light the fact that the work of crafters carries more than simply aesthetic value.
Ducker’s quilt, titled ‘Self-help’, is a disgruntled response to society’s overly positive comments on cancer patients. ‘But cancer is not a gift,’ Decker told Ian Warden of The Canberra Times, ‘and when life gives you lemons you are allowed to get a little bit cross about it.’
The full wording of the quilt (censored by CraftiHub) is as follows:
When life gives you lemons get on the roof and hurl those yellow f*****s at passers by
”Once you start doing that kind of thing the impact would have been lost,” Decker said, ‘the whole point was to give the quilt a bit of a jarring nature. It was to have people see it and go, “Oh! Real emotion!” I was very fuming at first, I think because the quilt was the only chance I’d ever have to say what I want to say on this subject.
‘The committee has been quite good about it all, but I still think they’re wrong.’
Censorship isn’t a word people like to throw around if they can avoid it. But be it legislative or social censorship, the idea of suppressing one’s right to convey their opinions is one I personally hold close to my heart. No, children shouldn’t be subjected to vulgar language or any other material that may be considered “obscene”, but that doesn’t stop the works of Shakespeare being studied in numerous school across the globe and it didn’t stop my high school English teaching speaking passionately about Carol Ann Duffy’s Havisham. Hell, it didn’t even stop Nintendo from including Manneken Pis, Venus de Milo and David in the recently released children’s game Animal Crossing: New Leaf.
Although I don’t wish to delve too deeply into the subject, my work elsewhere as a videogame journalist has alerted me to the alarming degree of censorship of videogames released in Australia. Many titles in the Grand Theft Auto series have had features removed due to the ability to pay prostitutes for sex, Fallout 3 was modified due to the game allowing players to use fictional drugs for fictional effects, and more recently Saints Row IV has been announced to have a section removed so that players can’t used made-up drugs brought to Earth by space aliens.
Videogames designed for and sold to adults by multibillion dollar companies is a far cry from Lynley Ducker’s quilt, but isn’t there cause for concern when adults are deemed incapable of choosing what “offensive” material they’re allowed to subject themselves to?
Perhaps the best conclusion to this article is a quote from Ducker’s blog regarding the banning of ‘Self-help’,
The only thing I can say is that I am making a genuine comment about something that is important to me, through the only technique I have, and every stitch, every colour choice and every word is the one that feels right – that feels necessary – to get to the result that I want. And Canberra Quilters has told me in the most direct and unvarnished way that my choices are WRONG and even worse are SO WRONG that they cannot be shown in public EVER or it will contaminate us all.