The Advertiser (Adelaide, S.A., Australia) August 20, 2003


Prince 'stealing' Aboriginal art

Prince Harry has been told by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission to stop stealing Aboriginal symbols and copying painting styles for his own art work.

"His family has been stealing from us for 200 years," ATSIC culture, rights and justice committee chairman Rodney Dillon said yesterday. Mr Dillon, just back from the UK where he negotiated the return of indigenous remains, said Prince Harry's own Aboriginal-inspired paintings were a form of "cultural theft".

Prince Harry, due in Australia in November, unveiled a series of his Aboriginal-style works earlier this year following celebrations for his 18th birthday.

The royal art student was applauded at the time for his technique but some Aboriginal artists in Australia have taken exception to his use of indigenous motifs. They have accused the prince of breaching intellectual and cultural property rights. "When people do this without any understanding of the spirit of these things, they are being disrespectful," Mr Dillon said. "It's nothing for some of the English people to do this. They have stolen our remains and they think they can steal our art."

But Mr Dillon said the prince would be forgiven because of his youth. "It is offensive but I don't think we should be too hard on the young fellow . . . I think he has just got to learn what he can and cannot do," he said.

For another take on this story, along with an image of the Prince and his art, see the article in The Guardian, UK.