A Sydney mother has called for the removal of a “racist” and “vile” caricature from Luna Park’s Coney Island area.
The artwork – that dates back to 1935 – depicts a woman at a fortune-telling machine, which reads: “You will meet a dark gentleman soon”. Standing to the side of the machine is a dark-skinned man with exaggerated features.
“Why the f**k is this still on the wall at Luna Park?” the woman wrote in a Facebook group.
“The caricature is vile.”
The post, which attracted hundreds of comments, received an onslaught of support, with many calling for the historic art to be removed immediately. Others, however, disagreed with the post, prompting the mother to later delete it.
News.com.au report that the woman’s daughter was “shocked” when she noticed the caricature during a visit to the park. She consequently emailed Luna Park’s guest relations with her concerns.
“I was there yesterday with my daughter and she noticed a sign in Coney Island on the back wall just at the beginning of the little ‘obstacle course’ that we thought was very outdated and racist in nature,” the email said.
“Those portrayals have time and again been deemed very racist as the underlying message is making fun of the subject in a very demeaning fashion.”
While Luna Park hasn’t responded to the criticism, they did provide News.com.au with a photograph of the sign accompanying the artwork, which adds context to the piece.
“Great care has been taken to present Coney Island to you today in the same way it was presented to park guests in the 1930s and 40s,” the sign reads.
“Many of the themes reflect the culture, attitudes and customs of another time. Today, some of the heritage paintings may be considered politically incorrect, however these have been preserved for their social, cultural and artistic value, for your appreciation, reflection and enjoyment.
“We do ask that you view the paintings with this context in mind, and understand that the themes do not necessarily represent the views of a modern audience, or the park’s operator, Luna Park Sydney.”
Do you find the artwork offensive when considering the context behind it?