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Performance Artist Marina Abramovic Apologises For Calling Aboriginal People "Dinosaurs"

"They are really strange and different."

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Controversial performance artist Marina Abramovic has apologised to the Australian Indigenous community after an excerpt from her upcoming memoir caused furore online.

Marina Abromovic

Marina Abromovic

Aboriginal people were furious after an excerpt from Abramovic's upcoming memoirs came to light, which said Aboriginal people "look like dinosaurs" and that "to western eyes they look terrible".

"They look like dinosaurs," the excerpt reads. "They are really strange and different and they should be treated as living treasures. Yet they are not. ...

"Their faces are like no other faces on earth; they have big torsos (just one bad result of their encounter with western civilisation is a high-sugar diet that bloats their bodies) and sticklike legs."

The Indigenous community called out Abramovic on social media over the excerpt using the hashtag #TheArtistIsRacist, a play on Abramovic's famous performance piece "The Artist Is Present", which she performed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2010.

The hashtag was trending on Twitter overnight and saw condemnation from people around the world.

Who is her publisher? Who is her editor? Who does she think she is? 😡😡😡 #MarinaAbramovic

Self portrait of me according to @hudsonmai @sharileesebbo #theracistispresent

Today Abramovic took to Facebook to apologise.

"I have the greatest respect for Aborigine [sic] people, to whom I owe everything," she said. "The time I spent with members of the Pijantjatjara [sic] and Pintupi tribes in Australia was a transformative experience for me, and one that has deeply and indelibly informed my entire life and art."

"The description contained in an early, uncorrected proof of my forthcoming book is taken from my diaries and reflects my initial reaction to these people when I encountered them for the very first time way back in 1979. It does not represent the understanding and appreciation of Aborigines that I subsequently acquired through immersion in their world and carry in my heart today."

Formerly with BuzzFeed News, Allan Clarke is a NITV reporter based in Sydney.

Contact Allan Clarke at

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