Council has rethink on digital nudes

Arrowtown artist Paul Sewter with one of 11 digital text paintings in his recent ''Sonnets'' series. Photo by Tracey Roxburgh.
Arrowtown artist Paul Sewter with one of 11 digital text paintings in his recent ''Sonnets'' series. Photo by Tracey Roxburgh.
The Queenstown Lakes District Council has done an about turn after an Arrowtown artist was told he could not exhibit his work in the Queenstown Gardens because some people might be offended.

Paul Sewter contacted the Otago Daily Times after receiving an email from a council representative, stating advice received from ''senior council management'' meant the council would not permit the exhibition of 11 digital text paintings as ''some members of the public may find it offensive and as such we need to avoid such a situation''.

Earlier this year, Mr Sewter had one of his digital text paintings included in the inaugural World Art Games in Croatia, and his first series, ''Control, Alt, Delete'', was exhibited at the New Zealand Art Show in Wellington in July.

Late last month he approached the council hoping to exhibit his second series - inspired by Shakespearean sonnets - in either Earnslaw Park or in the Queenstown Gardens.

The ''Sonnets'' series feature coloured images of the female form in various poses.

Mr Sewter said after reading 154 Shakespeare sonnets, he selected lines of text and repeated them as the background.

The words were also used to create a virtual paintbrush, used on an electronic tablet, to create the images.

While the park was ruled out as an exhibition space, he hoped to show the works in the gardens.

Mr Sewter was ''intrigued'' by the council's ''conservative decision''.

Later yesterday, QLDC spokeswoman Meaghan Miller ''quashed'' the statement sent to Mr Sewter and invited him to present his proposal to the council.

''There are no guarantees, but we'd like to give him a fair hearing,'' Ms Miller said.