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Lilian Broca: Stolen Property

Canadian artist Lilian Broca is a professional visual artist with a long history of successful exhibitions. For over thirty years she has been exploring issues around identity and equality within contemporary society. Her glass mosaics from the past two decades create vibrant images of characters taken from fairy tales, legends and myths.

Recently she has designed some scarves that feature selected images from her portfolio of mosaic artworks. Why? She’s taking the only action she can to empower herself in a situation that is becoming all too common for visual artists. This action is Broca’s way of reclaiming stolen property.

Artists are Vulnerable

A quick Google search reveals a multitude of websites and social media platforms hosting images of Lilian Broca’s mosaics, including her own artist website. In days gone by, like many artists, Broca did not realize how easy it is for image thieves to literally steal low resolution images from a website and to then create higher resolution versions for fraudulent purposes. Sadly this technology exists today leaving all artists vulnerable.

For almost ten years, Broca has been finding versions of her mosaic images, all unauthorized, on various products; some online and some in fancy, high-end boutique clothing shops. In the following interview Broca talks about this disturbing experience:

The Scarves

While an artist might be protected by copyright legislation in their own country the issue of global piracy is almost impossible to deal with legally. The expense would be beyond the means of most individuals and the outcome would likely not be worth the effort and the dollars spent.

So, after almost 10 years since she first became aware of the theft of her images, Broca is doing the only thing she can. She is using her own work to design a limited edition of scarves. In an article, written by Marsha Lederman for Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper, Lilian Broca says,

“… if Cartier cannot stop people from reproducing their luxury items, how can an artist do it?”

Clearly Broca understands she will never be able to get back what has already been stolen, however the end result of this design project will be entirely within her control. This time she will have the final say about when and where her wearable art hits the market.

The scarves will be made available for sale in the Gallery shops where Lilian Broca will be opening her next solo exhibition, Heroine of a Thousand Pieces: The Judith Mosaics.  The venues include: Il Museo of the Italian Cultural Centre in Vancouver, Nov. 12, 2015 and Joseph D. Carrier Art Gallery at the Columbus Centre in Toronto in May, 2016.

To see examples of Broca’s brilliant mosaic work view her website or check out this review of her book entitled The Hidden and the Revealed: The Queen Esther Mosaics of Lilian Broca, 2011 on the Mosaic Art Source magazine website. 

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