The father of the naked girl depicted on the cover of Art Monthly magazine has written of the "diabolically sexual" potential in child images.
Robert Nelson, art critic with The Age, has responded angrily to criticism of the nude pictures of his six-year-old daughter Olympia in the magazine's most recent issue, which may be pulled from the shelves after authorities ruled it needed to be classified.
But, as revealed by Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt in his blog this morning, Nelson has previously written of the specific sexuality of such pictures, arguing that "the sensuality of children is integral to parental fondness.
”In the essay — which features on the website of Nelson's wife Polixeni Papapetrou, who took the pictures of Olympia — Nelson says some photographs taken of Olympia by his wife in 2000 when she was just two years old were taken "at the instigation" of their daughter: "'Mummy, come and photo me,’ she would exhort."
The "taboo" of such images is described as "the fear of the child’s latent sexuality and its potential for exciting inappropriate and sinful desire."
Nelson also refers to the use of a pacifier in the photos of Olympia as "a necessary token of her age” … “Yet the (pacifier) itself is ambiguous … it also evokes the perversity of pleasure-sucking, i.e. a sucking for non-nutritious purposes, apparently serving a hedonistic function unrelated to nourishment."
Bolt described the words as "deeply, deeply disturbing" and Nelson as "irresponsible" despite his insistence on the need to protect children from sexual abuse.
The Australian Classification Board has asked Art Monthly to submit its publication for review.
Under the law, a publication can be classified unrestricted, category one or two restricted or "refused classification" — in which case it is banned from Australia.
If it is deemed to be in either of the two restricted categories it will only be available to people aged over 18.
It will also need to be pulled from display and sold in a sealed cover if the cover is considered inappropriate.
All copies will also have to be pulled from stock to have their cover marked with the appropriate classification.
If the publishers do not comply they face serious financial penalties.
With Reports from The Daily Telegraph and AAP.