Painting Sparks Furor

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Filed under: Art Pranks

Submitted by artist Ben Frost about a painting he did in 1999:

Fury at drug-taking kids painting
by Anna Edwards
MX via
July 18, 2007

A painting of two children preparing to shoot up displayed in a shop window in Fortitude Valley has sparked a public debate, amid calls for customers to boycott the boutique.


The painting has been hanging in the front window of Ultra Suite, on Ann St, since Friday.

Drug Arm, a drug awareness, rehabilitation and management organisation, and passers-by have requested it be removed, but the boutique owner has yet to make a decision.

“Is the retailer condoning illicit drug use, or accepting this behaviour? Perhaps such a controversial piece would be better suited to a private gallery,” Drug Arm executive director Dennis Young said.

He called for customers to boycott the shop until it was removed.

But Ultra Suite owner Mykl Notman, who has owned the artwork White children playing in the late 1900s, by ex-Brisbane artist Ben Frost, for more than a decade, said the painting was a comment piece and did not glamorise or condone drugs.

“If this painting is evoking a conversation about a terrible problem in our community and society, it is probably doing its job,” he said.

Reactions from people walking past Ultra Suite this morning were mixed.

“Personally, I think its disgusting,” said Amy Hinterdorfer, 21.

“We walked past on Friday night and there were people standing around talking about it, and we talked about it on the bus yesterday,” Lorrae Hendry, 23, said.

Painting: ‘Untitled Children Playing: Late 1900’s’ by Ben Frost