(CNN)English artist Damien Hirst has been accused of cultural appropriation after his exhibition, “Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable,” featured a “golden head” that appears to mirror sculpted heads created by African artists from Ile-Ife Nigeria.
“For the thousands of viewers seeing this for the first time, they won’t think Ife, they won’t think Nigeria,” Nigerian visual artist Victor Ehikhamenor wrote on his Instagram page, along with a picture he took of Hirst’s “golden head” behind glass.
“Their young ones will grow up to know this work as Damien Hirst’s. The narrative will shift and the young Ife or Nigerian contemporary artist will someday be told by a long nose critic, ‘Your work reminds me of Damien Hirst’s Golden Head,'” wrote Ehikhamenor, who with Hirst is exhibiting this year at the Venice Biennale.
“It’s about time these things get appropriately credited,” Ehikhamenor told CNN.
A spokesperson for Damien Hirst said: “The Treasures are a collection of works influenced by a wide range of cultures and stories from across the globe and throughout history — indeed many of the works celebrate original and important artworks from the past.
“A reference to the Ife heads is in the text accompanying the work and in the guide to the exhibition and is integral to the concept of the work.”
Hirst initially declined to talk with CNN, instead referring questions through a spokesperson to curator Elena Geuna.
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