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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 August, 2003, 16:01 GMT 17:01 UK
Prince offends Aboriginal artists
Prince Harry
Prince Harry got a B for his art A-level
Artworks created by Prince Harry for his A-levels have upset Australia's Aboriginal artist community.

He has been accused of misusing Aboriginal art motifs for the pictures, which were unveiled in May in pictures showing him studying at Eton College.

In one portrait released to the world's media, Harry is seen in front of two pieces which contain lizard motifs said to have been inspired by Aboriginal culture.

Dumbartung Aboriginal Corporation, a group which protects against the exploitation of aboriginal culture, has said Prince Harry's use of lizards in his artwork was akin to stealing their culture.

It's never been the intention of the prince to cause any offence
Buckingham Palace
Robert Eggington, co-ordinator of Dumbartung Aboriginal Corporation, said: "The general concern is that non-aboriginal people are using the motifs and symbols just to paint a pretty picture.

"It really is misappropriation of our culture. It isn't just pretty pictures with hundreds of dots or symbols."

Mr Eggington said a number of Aboriginal artists had contacted the group to complain about the pictures and that he would be writing to Buckingham Palace stating that "this kind of exploitation offends our people".

Julie Dowling, a leading Aboriginal artist, told the Guardian newspaper: "He needs to get down here and see where it [the lizard symbol] came from.

"What he has to realise is that when he does that he's ripping off another family. His grandmother is the head of his church, he should show respect for other people's religions."


The issue of who owns the intellectual property rights to cultural works is an important one among Aboriginal communities.

Buckingham Palace told BBC News Online the paintings do not "purport to be an Aboriginal piece of work".

"We haven't received any formal complaints and it's never been the intention of the prince to cause any offence," a spokesperson said.

Mr Eggington added: "His intentions may not have been to cause offence but he should at least have been aware of the dangers of exploiting aboriginal work.

"People of his status and with the influence of his family should have advisers who are more aware of the potential offence he would have created."

Prince Harry's artworks have been valued at 15,000 each.

In contrast, a painting by Aboriginal artist Turkey Tolson sold for $2,000 (800) shortly before his death in 2001 - although it is now said to be valued at $500,000 (200,000).

On Thursday it was revealed that Harry had gained a B grade for his art exam - as well as a D in geography - pleasing his father, the Prince of Wales, who praised his "hard work".

Now he has finished his studies, Harry is due to spend a year in Australia, after which he is hoping to attend Sandhurst military college in Berkshire.

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