A Tasmanian arts festival is standing firm on a controversial project asking Indigenous Australians to donate blood.
As part of the display to be featured at the Dark Mofo winter festival, a British flag is to be soaked in blood donated by First Nations people.
Dark Mofo issued a callout for donations on its social media platforms, alongside the words “we want your blood”.
“Expressions of interest are now open to First Nations peoples from countries claimed by the British Empire at some point in history, who reside in Australia,” Dark Mofo wrote on Instagram.
“Participants will be invited to donate a small amount of blood to the artwork, facilitated by a medical professional before the festival.”
The callout was met with a wave of criticism, describing it as tone-deaf and hypocritical.
Rapper Senator Briggs was one of the more prominent Indigenous Australians to respond.
“We already gave enough blood,” he said.
In response to the criticism, however, Creative Director of Dark Mofo Leigh Carmichael said he stood by the project.
In a statement issued late on Monday, he said it was “not surprising that the atrocities committed as a result of colonising nations continue to haunt us”.
“We understand, respect and appreciate the many diverse views in relation to this confronting project,” he said.
“Self-expression is a fundamental human right, and we support artists to make and present work regardless of their nationality or cultural background.
“The range of perspectives reflects the conversations we had with Tasmanian Aboriginal people prior to announcing the project.”
Dark Mofo will run in Hobart from 16-22 June.